Apex court warns against øtrial by mediaø

IN Media Practice | 09/02/2005
"We deprecate this practice and caution the publisher, editor and the journalist who are responsible for the said articles against indulging in such trial by media when the issue is subjudice."
 

Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi, Feb 7. The Supreme Court has warned the media against conducting the "trial" of cases being heard by the judiciary, saying that the publication of one-sided news reports interferes with the administration of justice.

A bench consisting of judges N. Santosh Hegde and S.B. Sinha described the "trial" by media in pending cases as a disturbing factor in the administration of justice. The bench expressed its displeasure while granting anticipatory bail to an accused in a dowry death case.

The judges took serious note of an article in a Kolkata magazine titled "Doomed by Dowry" based on an interview with the family of the deceased when the Calcutta High Court disposed of an application for anticipatory bail. Noting that the article was a one-sided version of the case, the judges said that "the facts narrated therein are all materials that may be used in the forthcoming trial in this case and we have no hesitation that this type of article appearing in the media would certainly interfere with the administration of justice".

The bench said: "We deprecate this practice and caution the publisher, editor and the journalist who are responsible for the said articles against indulging in such trial by media when the issue is subjudice. "Others concerned in journalism would take note of this displeasure expressed by us for interfering with the administration of justice."

M.P. Lohia, facing charges of causing the death of his wife, had moved the apex court against a Calcutta High Court order rejecting his plea for anticipatory bail. While Lohia`s special leave petition was pending before the Supreme Court, a Kolkata magazine published the article giving a version of the tragedy and extensively quoting the dead woman`s father on his version of events.

But Lohia has claimed that his wife was a schizophrenic psychotic patient with cyclic depression and under medical treatment. Without going into the merits of the case, the apex court granted anticipatory bail to Lohia on a bond of Rs.100,000 and surety for a similar amount and asked him to cooperate with the investigation

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