Wife of Abhishek Banerjee moves Calcutta High Court to restrain media from covering ongoing probes against the couple

The petition alleged that the mainstream media operating in traditional and digital spheres has portrayed the petitioner and her husband as though they are proven guilty persons.
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek BanerjeeFacebook

Abhishek Banerjee's wife Rujira moved the Calcutta High Court on Monday alleging that a media trial is going on against her and Banerjee and such media organisations should be restrained from publishing any news with regards to her and her parliamentarian husband [Rujira Banerjee vs State of West Bengal].

In her plea filed through advocate Soumen Mohanty, Rujira raised concern over the 'conduct' of various media houses that have engaged in continuous and around the clock coverage of ongoing investigating conducted by central agencies in different cases, which directly or indirectly implicate her and her husband Abhishek.

The petition alleged that the media has portrayed the petitioner and her husband as though they are proven guilty persons.

"A majority of the news stories (which are highlighted in the petition) are rooted in unverified and baseless rumours and speculations and conjectures, which have little to no connection with the actuals of the circumstances of the ongoing probe. The mainstream media operating in traditional and digital spheres, has portrayed the petitioner and her husband as though they are proven guilty persons," the petition highlighted.

The petition therefore, said that such media reportage should be halted since it prejudices their cases.

"It is needed to halt such media reportage as it not only affects the rights of the petitioner and her husband to a fair investigation and trial but also jeopardises the adjudication process as such. The petitioner and her husband are aggrieved and dissatisfied by the continuous violation of their fundamental rights to life and personal liberty which has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include the right to privacy and dignity," the petition stated further.

The petition came up for hearing before single-judge Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya on Monday. However, the bench adjourned the hearing of the matter till Tuesday on a request made by Deputy Solicitor General Billwadal Bhattacharyya and advocate Sabyasachi Chatterjee, who appeared for one of the respondents (Editor of Banglar Barta).

In her petition, Rujira specifically highlighted the coverage against the couple by media houses - ANI, My Nation, Kovai Media Pvt Ltd, Swarajya, ARG Outlier Media, Republic Bangla, Republic World, HT Media, Hindustan Times, Hindu Post, Hindu Media Forum, Arambagh TV and Banglar Barta.

Many of their reports accused Banerjee of siphoning off crores of rupees to the accounts of some Russian girlfriend and also purposely avoiding to honour summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The Press Council of India and Twitter have also been made respondents to the petition.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news