HC issues notice to Centre, Mah on media trials

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Mumbai, Oct 18 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Maharashtra and Central governments to file, within four weeks, reply affidavits on a petition filed by Rahul Thakur, a practicing lawyer from the court, raising concern over rights of accused being repeatedly flouted by the media and issue of media trials.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also directed the state government first to concentrate on aspect of protecting identity/privacy of arrested persons, raised in the petition, while filing reply affidavits.

Advocate Thakur has taken strong objection to photographs and names of accused persons being published in newspapers, contending that it was clear infringement to right to privacy of that individual. He has alleged that, the media follows the principle of verdict first and trial later by sensationalising the facts and making it sound that the person arrested or accused of the crime was indeed a criminal.

Thakur has further alleged that such acts on part of the media as, publishing names and photographs of accused persons, police parading them before media, running parallel trial, inciting mobs to take law in their hand were nothing but infringement of fundamental rights of citizens and that has become possible beacuse the state and its various instrumentalities were actively aiding and abetting their commission. These sections were not only breaching on fundamental rights of thousands of persons but thereby also vitiating test identification parade and also by trying to influence judicial opinion in favour or against the accused leading to virtual trial.

He has further submitted in his petition that, right to freedom of speech and expression was a limited right, whereas the right to privacy was absolute right and while comparing both these rights right to privacy shall stand taller.

The petition will now come up for further hearing after four weeks.


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