Media Comments on Pending Cases Cause Damage: Attorney General
Appearing for Prashant Bhushan, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, however, disagreed with Venugopal’s views.
Appearing before the Supreme Court in his personal capacity, Attorney General KK Venugopal alleged on Tuesday, 13 October, that media discussions on sub judice matters influence judges’ thoughts, and cause great damage to the judicial institution, reported NDTV.
Sub judice matters are those which are pending before a court of law.
This development comes as the Supreme Court examined lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan’s controversial, published remarks from 2009 in a contempt case against him.
WHAT DID KK VENUGOPAL SAY?
According to LiveLaw, Venugopal said:
“Today, the print media and electronic media are freely commenting on pending matters, seeking to influence the judges and public perception. This is causing great damage to the institution.”
Further he lamented on the increase in magnitude of this, and said, according to Live Law: "Today, when I watch TV, I see comments about the bail application based on statements stated to be made to police. When a bail plea comes up for hearing, the channels flash conversations between the accused and someone.”
This can have damaging consequences for the accused, he added.
He further pointed out how documents related to the Rafale were released in the media, on the day the bench was to take up the case.
WHAT DID RAJEEV DHAVAN SAY?
Appearing for Prashant Bhushan, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, however, disagreed with Venugopal’s views and said that the press cannot be kept from commenting on cases only due to the fact that they were pending in the courts. He also pointed out that foreign jurisdictions and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) provide more freedom for media comments on pending matters.
The Attorney General later, according to LiveLaw, suggested that he will further discuss the mater with Rajeev Dhawan and Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal (appearing for the second accused Tarun Tejpal) regarding the questions to be laid down in the case.
(With inputs from NDTV and LiveLaw.)
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