THE DELHI High Court Tuesday said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting cannot say it “will not do anything” on complaints against television channels when an investigation is sensitive in nature.
The observation followed the Centre’s submission in court regarding an application by actor Rakul Preet Singh. The actor has sought the court’s intervention against “fake reporting” by the media about her role in the drugs case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau against actor Rhea Chakraborty and others.
Justice Navin Chawla ordered the ministry and News Broadcasters Association to inform the court about the steps taken in pursuance of its earlier order directing them to expeditiously take a decision on the complaints filed by actor Rakul Preet against various news channels.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma earlier submitted before the court that any order in the matter will have a “cascading effect” on the investigation in the drugs case. The court was also told that Singh was issued a summons by the NCB but she is not an accused.
“…it is a sensitive matter. We have to take a balanced view of the entire thing. Today any order this way or that way is bound to have some cascading effect on ongoing investigation which is at crucial stage,” said Sharma.
However, the court said, “You have a power under Cable Television [Networks (Regulation)] Act. The petitioner has come to you saying that here are three reports, which are totally derogatory to women and they are totally false. Now right or wrong… may be the allegation is totally wrong as far as the petitioner is concerned but you will investigate into it. You cannot say I will not do anything because it is a sensitive information or sensitive investigation.”
The court, in an order on September 17, had ordered the Centre and NBA to treat contents of the actor’s petition as a representation and take expeditious decision in accordance with guidelines. However, it was told Tuesday that there has been no action from authorities and even NBA has adjourned the proceedings on her representation to October 3.
Rakul Preet’s counsel, Advocate Aman Hingorani, highlighted instances of “fake reporting” about her. Rubbishing reports that she was stocking and supplying drugs, Hingorani submitted on the actor’s behalf, “I am a non-smoker. I am a teetotaler. I don’t do drugs…My reputation is in tatters. My dignity has been violated and my privacy has been violated.”
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