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Sohrabuddin killing case: Can trial court gag media, asks Bombay High Court

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

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: January 24, 2018 7:37 am
Sohrabuddin, Sohrabuddin encounter, Sohrabuddin killing case, bombay high court, sohrabuddin fake encounter case, restraining media in sohrabuddin case, Bombay High Court (Express Photo by Pradeep Kocharekar/File)

THE BOMBAY High Court Tuesday asked whether the trial court that passed an order restraining the media from reporting proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case had the powers to do so. Hearing a writ petition filed by nine journalists, including from The Indian Express, against the special CBI court’s November 29 order restraining the media from reporting the ongoing trial, Justice Revati Mohite-Dere asked: “Under which provision does the judge have the power to direct the media not to publish? Can the court, in the absence of power, pass such an order?”.

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

“The trial court’s order usurps jurisdiction of the superior courts. It has not prohibited access, it is an open trial which can be attended by anyone including the mediapersons but prohibits publication. The order is in nature of an injunction which it does not have the power to give. It cannot restrict the media from reporting the trial,” Ponda submitted.

Referring to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Civil Procedure, Press and Registration of Books Act and Contempt of Courts Act, Ponda said there was no such provision in any of these laws to restrain publication as had been done by the trial court. “Even under provisions of special Acts such as Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act or the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, legislature has refrained from banning publishing of trial proceedings,” he said.

Advocate Mihir Desai, representing the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, which also filed a writ against the trial court’s ban on publication, said the court had passed an order on an application “devoid” of any material to seek such a restraining order. The defence advocates, representing the accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, said the application was filed because there were apprehensions about the safety of accused, prosecutor, witnesses and defence advocates.

“Due to the involvement of political parties in the case, there are other political parties interested in this matter. They want to blame each other. Ultimately, innocent accused are becoming victims in the case,” advocate Rajesh Bindra said. Justice Mohite-Dere pointed out that the prosecution had not said anything about such an apprehension regarding witnesses. CBI counsel Sandesh Patil did not make any submission, and said the agency would leave it to the court to decide.

Other defence advocates submitted that the controversy surrounding the death of CBI judge Brijmohan Loya had impacted the case and was affecting the safety of the accused. The court said that had nothing to do with this case.
Initially, the defence advocates contended that as the SC has transferred to itself petitions pending in the Bombay HC regarding the death of judge Loya, this petition too should be transferred to the SC. Justice Mohite-Dere said the petition before it was a “completely different” matter and this petition was not connected to petitions in the apex court.

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  1. harun hafeez
    Jan 24, 2018 at 9:11 am
    Plain joke,the Trial Court judge is making a mockery of proceedings.Why restrain from reporting.Why is that we havent heard of Netas before seeking restraint from reporting a case they have been involved.This has been the way for both Father and son.That begs a serious question are decisions taken independantly
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    1. The Void
      Jan 24, 2018 at 8:42 am
      TOOLS OF CONVERSION BY MUGAL TERRORISTS :---- 1. VIOLENCE: Most were converted using this methodology, Which included beating, killing, kidnap, rape to convert people forcibily, terrorists like taimur, khilji, aurangjeb followed this mostly. -------- 2.TAXES: Very low taxes for those who convert and very high taxes for those stay Hindus, like Jazia Tax, agriculture taxes and all other taxes ------- 3.LAWS and PUNISHMENTS: Laws were very harsh and harrasing for those who stayed Hindus, If anyone committed crime and choose to convert, he was given very less punishment. ------- 4.MONEY: Many were given greed of money to convert to islamic cult. -------- 5.LAND: Land was also given to some powerful but greedy and treacherous people if they convert... SOURCE:: Various history books on medieval India, you can read yourself also.... Its was the great resistance and bravery of our previous generations who refused to convert and fought back that saved this land from becoming islamic state.
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      1. The Void
        Jan 24, 2018 at 8:41 am
        WHO ARE CONVERTS??-------------Mugal terrorists targeted those weak and poor Hindus who were defenseless, and to convert them they used extreme torture, beating, killing, rape, and in some cases money also.......... after conversion these people were treated as converted slaves by mugals.......their DNAs/Genes degraded under slavery for more than 1000 years..........WE HINDUS didnt bend knees to accept islam but chose to fight back,,, lakhs of us were killed and most brutal torture were inflicted on us when caught as prisoners of war,,, but we still kept fighting GENERATIONS AFTER GENERATIONS for more than 1000 years till we finished them..........THIS also gave freedom to those converted slaves........but instead of thanking for giving them freedom, they started fighting with the Hindus becaz of their inter-generational teaching of islamic terrorirism and quran which they started following after conversion.........and now they follow, praise and defend THEIR OWN TORMENTORS!!!
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        1. The Void
          Jan 24, 2018 at 8:41 am
          ISLAM IS NOT A RELIGION AND ALLAH NOT A GOD.......Cult of islam was created by fraudster mohammad just recently in 7th century, before 7th century there was NO ISLAM, NO ALLAH, NO MUSLIMS......... ancestors of mohammad were worshipers of LORD SHIVA, but insipred by jesus's fame mohammad also wanted start HIS OWN CULT just like jesus, so that people follow and worhip him also , so he created concept of islam and allah........KABA IS KAILASH,,,,,,,,even today all you muslims worship the SHIVALINGA AT KABA...........and allah is one of the names of MOTHER GOD AMBA in Sanskrit......HINDU KINGS like Vikramaditya have accounts of visiting that Kaba Shiv Mandir, these accounts are still there in a library in Turkey with the name SAYAR-UL-OKUL.....Mufti Muhammad Ilyas also says Shiva is the first Prophet of muslims......converts should search and read their (short) history and you people will come to know that all this is true......islam is all fake, Why follow a fake cult??
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