Urge Media to be Responsible in Reporting on Sushant Case: HC

A PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court.

2 min read

Eight former top police officers of Maharashtra moved a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Bombay High Court seeking restraining orders against the 'media trial' in Sushant Singh Rajput case, as reported by The Indian Express.

Now, the court has passed an order stating that it urges and expects the media to be responsible in reporting on the case. “We urge and expect the media to exercise restraint in reporting on the investigation with respect to the death, which would not hamper investigation in any manner", the Bombay HC said. The matter is listed for grant of further reliefs on 10 September when the CBI, News channels, media & Ministry of Broadcasting & both the associations will be heard.

The petitioners include former DGPs P S Pasricha, K Subramaniam, D Shivanandan, Sanjeev Dayal, Satish Chandra Mathur, and ex Commissioners of Mumbai Police Mahesh N Singh, Dhananjay N Jadhav and former Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief K P Raghuvanshi.

The petition states that a section of the media has been trying to influence the course of investigation carried out by various central agencies through their biased propaganda.

"A section of TV Channels has been trying to influence the course of investigation being done by Central Agencies through their biased reporting and false propaganda. This has created an air of suspicion in the minds of the general public as to the facts of the case under investigation and also about the Mumbai Police, health services and other support services of the state", the plea states.

The PIL also criticises the manner in which some news channels are maligning the reputation of the Mumbai Police.

"Anchors of some TV channels (that) have been virtually running a vituperative 24×7 campaign against Mumbai Police and its Commissioner, DCP of the zone and other officers by attacking them by name in most unbecoming manner", the petition adds.

Emphasising that the criminal justice system of India has always adhered to 'innocent until proven guilty', the PIL adds that this is 'grossly violated' as the media is conducting its own trial and forming an air of prejudice in the case. “The irresponsible and maliciously false propaganda is likely to erode public confidence in the institution of Police in particular and the law enforcement apparatus of the state in general. The Mumbai Police is one of the oldest police forces of India and it has always enjoyed a very high reputation for professional competence and public service. Any malicious and irresponsible attempt to run it down is, therefore, not in public interest".

The PIL sought directions to Central Government, Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association, News Broadcasting Standards Authority and state government to issue guidelines for media houses to refrain from carrying false, derogatory comments, flashing social media posts and highlighting stories that would jeopardize the reputation of Mumbai Police.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is currently probing the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, who allegedly died by suicide on 14 June at his Bandra residence.

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