Bombay High Court Asks Marathi News Channels to Follow Media Trial Judgment Guidelines Scrupulously The Bombay High Court (HC) on 4 March 2021 in the case titled Lahu Chandu Chavan (Petitioner) v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Respondent) directed four Marathi news channels to "scrupulously follow the guidelines" issued by the Court in January 2021. The HC bench comprising of Justices...
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Bombay High Court Asks Marathi News Channels to Follow Media Trial Judgment Guidelines Scrupulously
The Bombay High Court (HC) on 4 March 2021 in the case titled Lahu Chandu Chavan (Petitioner) v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Respondent) directed four Marathi news channels to "scrupulously follow the guidelines" issued by the Court in January 2021.
The HC bench comprising of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale passed the directions in a plea filed by the petitioner objecting to the reportage carried out on his daughter's death by print and electronic media.
In January 2020 a bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni gave a verdict on a media trial in the case of Nilesh Navlakha v. Union of India reported in Aironline 2021 Bom. 14.
The Court held in that case that trial by media interferes with a criminal investigation by Police and issued many directions to the media to be followed while reporting incidents involving suicide and death of persons.
It had also issued certain guidelines for media while reporting on aspects of ongoing criminal investigation to ensure that reporting does not prejudice the rights of the accused and witnesses.
The factual background of the case is that the petitioner got to know that his daughter fell from the balcony of the 1st floor as she lost her balance. She was taken to the hospital wherein she was declared dead.
Soon after the death of the Petitioner's daughter, news in print and electronic media emerged and started circulating alleging that his daughter was having illicit relations with 'Y'.
The petitioner submitted before the HC that the said news was "Defamatory and derogatory to the name of the Petitioner and his family, including his daughter."
Senior Advocate Shirish Gupte representing the petitioner submitted that around twelve audio clips of the alleged conversations of the petitioner's daughter with some unknown persons were circulated by political parties and media. He further stated that the said content was defamatory to the petitioner and his family.
The petitioner sought before the HC for an order to restrain the print and electronic media from publishing further news and defaming the image of the petitioner by circulating such news.
The Advocate representing the Marathi news channels stated that the channels will exercise restraint by not publishing any objectionable contents and will also follow the guidelines issued in the media trial judgment.
The Court agreed with the submissions of the petitioner and issued notice to the other respondents whose counsels were not present in the hearing. The HC directed the news channels to follow the guidelines issued by it.
The HC bench directed the respondents, "To scrupulously follow the guidelines issued by this Court in the case of Nilesh Navlakha (supra) and not to publish or give any unnecessary publicity to the incident of death of the daughter X of the Petitioner and further alleged illicit relationship of the daughter X with Y."