‘SC entering legislative domain on media guidelines’

SC was told that a careful approach was needed so that freedom of press is not not abridged.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Published: April 10, 2012 7:43 pm

The Supreme Court was today told that it has entered into legislative domain by attempting to frame guidelines for media for covering court proceedings and was cautioned that a careful approach was needed so that freedom of press is not not abridged.

Senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Anil Divan submitted that any guidelines framed by the court “must not infringe” the constitution as it “cannot be challenged” and becomes “immune from judicial review”.

“I cannot challenge your guidelines but if Parliament makes any guidelines,I can challenge them before you,” Divan,appearing for ‘The Hindu’ daily,submitted before a Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.

He said the guidelines which will be laid down through a judgement of the apex court cannot be challenged on grounds of breach of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1)(A) and as such “guidelines become immune from judicial

review”.

Bhushan,who was appearing for a scribe,said freedom of press should not be curtailed in any way. “And the only guidelines which would be Constitutional would be that the media would not publish anything which it knows is not true or which has been published with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not,” he said.

Senior advocate P P Rao,appearing for Press Council of India,said that there are adequate guidelines for print media for covering court proceedings but electronic media is not under its ambit.

“The Council will be privileged to assist this Constitution bench in framing of guidelines that balance the rights of the affected parties with the duties of the media to report matter of public interest,” he said.

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