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The Court was hearing actor Rakul Preet's petition concerning "unsubstantiated" news reports on her, in connection with Rhea Chakraborty drug case.
While hearing actor Rakul Preet's petition concerning "unsubstantiated" news reports on her, in connection with Rhea Chakraborty drug case, the Delhi High Court today hoped that media houses would show restraint and abide by the Programme Code and other guidelines. (Rakul Preet vs UOI)
The order was passed by a single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla.
"I was shooting in Hyderabad..I suddenly discover on 11th evening that Rhea Chakraborty has named me (before the NCB) as a person who has been doing drugs..", Senior Advocate Aman Hingorani for Rakul Preet said.
Arguing that media houses and TV channels have been making defamatory and deliberately false reports and innuendos, Senior Advocate Hingorani informed the Court that the alleged statement had already been retracted by Rhea on September 10.
The Court was informed that as a consequence of the false reports, Rakul Preet was being removed from endorsement contracts.
It was further pointed out that TV channels purposely showed certain movie clips of Rakul Preet wherein she could be seen smoking and drinking.
They even morphed her photo to show her sitting with other persons who were allegedly named by Rhea Chakraborty, it was added.
In view of the above, Senior Advocate Hingorani sought a direction to Central Government, Prasar Bharti, Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association to take action against the erring media houses, in accordance with law and to implement own guidelines.
As an interim measure, Senior Advocate Hingorani prayed that an order be passed to restrain media houses from airing, publishing any news report on Rakul Preet in connection with Rhea Chakraborty drug case.
After hearing the counsel for Rakul Preet, the Court observed that media was self-regulatory, with its own statutory authorities.
Noting that no representation had been preferred by Rakul Preet before any of the statutory authorities, it remarked,
Additional Solicitor General, Chetan Sharma submitted that Rakul Preet was essentially seeking a "John Doe order" as the petition before the Court did not refer to any particular TV channel or media house.
It was added that a blanket pre-censorship order ought not to be passed by the Court, especially when there has been no complaint under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act.
While agreeing with the ASG that there could not be an order to gag media, the Court, however, opined that there had to be "some kind of restraint" as a person's reputation was at stake.
During the course of the hearing, counsel for the News Broadcasters Association, Advocate Rahul Bhatia said that it was a self-regulatory authority which had a functioning complaint mechanism in place.
In view of the submissions made by the parties, the Court issued notice to Central Government, Prasar Bharti, Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association and directed that as an interim measure, they would expeditiously decide the issues raised in Rakul Preet's petition, including passing any interim direction.
The matter would be heard next on October 15.