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Disclosing Details Of Ongoing Investigations To Media: Karnataka High Court Directs Police To Strictly Follow Govt Circular

Mustafa Plumber
26 Oct 2021 8:00 AM GMT
Disclosing Details Of Ongoing Investigations To Media: Karnataka High Court Directs Police To Strictly Follow Govt Circular
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The Karnataka High Court has directed police officers who are in-charge of investigations to strictly follow the circular issued by the State government and not to divulge information regarding criminal cases to the media before the investigation is completed. A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum while disposing of a petition filed...

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The Karnataka High Court has directed police officers who are in-charge of investigations to strictly follow the circular issued by the State government and not to divulge information regarding criminal cases to the media before the investigation is completed.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum while disposing of a petition filed by H Naghabhushan R. said,

"We have given our anxious consideration to the directions issued by the respondent/State to the police officers not to disclose information regarding details of cases under investigation. The directions are detailed at clauses (a) to (f) of circular dated 11.08.2021."

It added, "In terms of the circular issued by the respondent/State, the police officers who are in-charge of the investigation are hereby directed to strictly adhere to the instructions incorporated in the circular dated 11.08.2021."

The petitioner had sought directions of the court to the respondents to frame statutory rules to prevent publication of indecent and obscene content as part of the news/any other programme in the electronic and print media. The plea also prays that publication of such content should be made a cognizable offence, which will have a reasonably deterrent punishment.

Further, it has stated that various media houses are publishing obscene video/ partially blurred nude photographs and videos of several incidents as part of news programmes. Further, it was submitted that while telecasting news, TV anchors are repeating the vulgar language used in the video clips to make it loud and clear so that the public can understand the language that is used by two compromising individuals.

The plea said the Cable TV (Regulation) Act-1995 has no such provision or scheme to prevent such mischievous publication. Though Section-5 of the Act provides that no person shall transmit or re-transmit through a cable service or any programme unless such programme is in conformity with the prescribed programme code, there is no definition for programme code, the petitioner submitted.

In view of the same, the petitioner said that it is essential that the contents of such news and clippings in the visual media are regulated. The petitioner further raised concern over the fact that in several cases the media is continuously reporting matters which are sub-judice before courts. The plea sought that apart from framing guidelines, directions be issued to prevent the electronic media from analysing the sub-judice matters before the court and direct State Police not to leak information collected during the course of investigation regarding any case to the press, public or media.

The state government by memo dated 10.06.2021 placed on record circulars and instructions issued to the police force in the State regarding providing information of investigation to the press and media.

The court having taken judicial note of the same had directed the respondent/State to initiate appropriate proceedings against the erring police officials and also issued appropriate directions to the police in terms of the circulars which are placed on record.

The state filed its compliance report regarding this order by filing a memo dated August 12.

Following which the court said, "We have given our anxious consideration to the directions issued by the respondent/State to the police officers not to disclose information regarding details of cases under investigation. The directions are detailed at clauses (a) to (f) of circular dated 11.08.2021."

It added, "In view of the circular dated 11.08.2021 issued by the Government of Karnataka, nothing survives for consideration in the present writ petition. Accordingly, the writ petition stands disposed of in terms of the aforesaid observations."

Case Title: H Nagabhushan Rao v. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

Case No: Writ Petition No.7026 of 2021

Date of Order: 22nd Day of October, 2021

Appearance: Advocate Deepashree, a/w advocate Nagendra Naik for petitioner; Advocate Mahdukar Deshpande, for R1; Advocate Rajashekar .S, for R2.

Click Here To Read/Download The Order



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