Home Gujarat Sohrabuddin encounter case: Bombay HC undo order banning media from reporting proceedings

Sohrabuddin encounter case: Bombay HC undo order banning media from reporting proceedings

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(G.N.S) Dt. 24

Mumbai

The Bombay High Court Wednesday quashed and set aside a trial court order restraining the media from reporting on the proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case. Justice Revati Mohite Dere said that “certainly public had a right to know what is happening in this case,” while referring to freedom of speech and expression, adding that the said article entailed freedom of the press.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing the writ petition filed by nine journalists – including from The Indian Express – against the special CBI court’s order on November 29 restraining the media from reporting the ongoing trial. Stating that media is the most powerful watchdog of society, Justice Dere said the press serves a larger public purpose of disseminating information which otherwise would not be easily accessible to the public.

Representing the journalists, advocates Aabad Ponda and Abhinav Chandrachud, assisted by Varsha Bhogle and Shailendra Singh, relied on a Supreme Court judgment where the court had ordered the postponement of publication of a proceeding and had ruled that such powers only lie with ‘court of records’ that is the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

On November 29, the court had passed the order on the application made by one of the accused citing apprehension on the security of witnesses, accused and lawyers. The court had accepted the plea, observing that publication may create a ‘security problem’. The petition by the journalists before the high court seeks that the order be set aside, stating that it is “bad in law” and that the trial court had failed to articulate what the “exceptional circumstances”, which had necessitated the passing of such an order, were.

The order restraining the media was passed on the day the court was expected to examine the first prosecution witness in the case. The court had earlier framed charges against 22 accused, including policemen from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

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