Updated: May 3, 2021 1:43:03 pm
The media cannot be stopped from reporting any court hearing, the Supreme Court said on Monday as the Election Commission complained against the Madras High Court’s observation that the poll watchdog was singularly responsible for the rise in Covid-19 cases.
A bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said it did not want to “demoralise” the high courts as they are vital pillars of the democracy, and the various critical remarks, as alleged by the Election Commission, are often said in an open dialogue between the bar and the bench.
“Media is a powerful watchdog in democracy, it cannot be stopped from reporting discussions in higher courts. Seeking relief such as media should not report on observations is too far-fetched,” the Supreme Court said in its observations, news agency PTI reported.
The Election Commission had said the Madras HC’s comment was “uncalled for, blatantly disparaging and derogatory” and moved the apex court on Saturday.
Coming down heavily on the Election Commission for “not stopping political parties” from violating Covid protocols during their campaign rallies for Assembly polls in four states and a Union Territory over the last month, the Madras HC had said that murder charges should probably be imposed on the panel for being “the only institution responsible for the situation that we are in today”.
On Friday, the Madras High Court had refused to entertain a petition by the Election Commission seeking to restrain media from publishing the court’s oral observations blaming the poll body for the rise in Covid-19 cases.
The High Court had also come down heavily on the Centre for its poor preparedness in handling the second wave of pandemic. On a suo motu public interest writ proceeding initiated to check the preparedness of the state to tackle the second wave besides assessing the availability of oxygen, beds, drugs and ventilators to treat Covid patients, the first bench of CJ Banerjee and Ramamoorthy asked the Centre what they were doing for the past 10 to 15 months.
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