A petition in the Bombay High Court has sought direction to television channels and other media organisations to restrict their reportage in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The actor died by suicide on June 14.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed earlier this week by activists Nilesh Navlakha, Mahibub D Shaikh and Subhash Chander Chaba stated that the nature of reporting by TV channels was that of “sensationalism” and adversely impacting the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the case. “Insinuations have been made about the involvement of prominent politicians and officials, while the accused named in the FIR has already been convicted by news channels.”
The CBI took over the case following the Supreme Court’s order on Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty’s plea seeking transfer of the FIR lodged against her in Patna to Mumbai. The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case against Rhea and her family members.
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News channels have gone so far as to display call detail records and personal contact details of those named in the case, the PIL said further.
The plea sought directions from the court to “postpone” coverage as it amounts to “media trial”. “The medial trial in the death of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s case is posing real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice, much less, the criminal justice system, or to the fairness of trial.”
The plea further stated that the Programme Code as per Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 was required to be followed scrupulously. In view of this, the plea sought from the central government and other authorities regulating TV channels to issue instructions to channels to abide by the law and take stringent action against those violating ethics by engaging in media trial.
The activists also stated that “the plea in no manner seeks to impinge or curtail the freedom of the press/media, but for the sake of administration of justice only seeks a direction to the respondents to toe the “Lakshman Rekha” and ensure that no media trial is undertaken which has the impact of prejudicing the independent investigation being undertaken by the CBI”