"Without interfering with the independence of media and keeping in view the fact that the news items relating to movements of troops has already engaged the attention at the highest level in the defence as well as in government, we direct Secretaries, Home and Information and Broadcasting, government of India and Principal Secretary (Home) to ensure that there is no reporting/release of any news item by the print as well as electronic media on the matter," the Lucknow bench of the high court said.
On a PIL filed by social activist Nutan Thakur expressing grave concern over the media report on the movement of troops, a bench of justices Uma Nath Singh and Virendra Kumar Dixit said, "the issue of movement of army troops is not a matter of the kind which should require public discussion at the cost of defence secrecy and the security of the country."
Thakur, in her submissions, said such reports, if permitted to continue, may seriously interfere with the handling of security matters by the Army, particularly the movement of troops from the strategic point of view in field as well as peace areas.
While issuing the direction, the court dismissed the plea seeking a high-level probe into the report. On April 4, a leading national daily had reported the "unusual" movement of key military units on the night of January 16, on the day Army Chief Gen VK Singh approached the Supreme Court on the age issue. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony as well as the Army had rubbished the news report.