‘Media has right to cover court proceedings’: SC refuses to expunge Madras HC’s remarks against EC


Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Stressing that media discharges an important function in adding vitality to democracy, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that media cannot be restricted from covering court proceedings in any manner. A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said. “The media has the right to cover court proceedings but senior judges should exercise restraint and not make off the cuff remarks.”

“Technology has shaped social, economic and political structures beyond description. The world is adapting to technology at a pace which is often difficult to catalogue, and many of our citizens are becoming digital natives from a young age. It is understandable that they will look towards modern forms of media, such as social media websites and applications, while consuming the news.

This, understandably, would also include information reported about the functioning of courts,” the bench ruled. The order came on a plea filed Election Commission against Madras High Court observations that had said the EC should probably be booked for murder for allowing political rallies while the country reels under a massive surge of Covid-19 infections.

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud acknowledged that the high court’s remarks were harsh, but did not expunge them saying they do not form part of the judicial order. “It will be retrograde to restrain HCs from making observations or gagging media from reporting observations. Courts have to remain alive to evolving technology of media, it is not good, if it is restrained from reporting judicial proceedings.” 

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