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The plea filed in the top court says that anchors of some TV channels have been virtually running a vituperative 24x7 campaign against the Mumbai Police and its commissioner, the DCP and other officers.
Eight former Mumbai police cops in the ranks of Director and Additional Director General or Commissioner of Police have approached the Bombay High Court to restrain the media trial being conducted over the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. The petitioners have registered protest over some sections of the media maligning the image of the Mumbai Police through media trial.
Former DGPs PS Pasricha, K Subramaniam, D Shivanandan, Sanjeev Dayal, Satish Chandra Mathur; former commissioners of Mumbai Police Mahesh N Singh, Dhananjay N Jadhav; and former ATS chief KP Raghuvanshi have filed the PIL through advocate Sanjay Ashar.
The plea states that a section of TV channels are spreading false propaganda through their biased reporting of the facts and that they are trying to influence the course of investigation into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
reads the plea.
Stating that "anchors of some TV channels have been virtually running a vituperative 24x7 campaign against Mumbai Police and its commissioner, DCP of the zone and other officers by attacking them by name in most unbecoming manner," the plea argues that the image of the Mumbai police is being tarnished through such "biased coverage."
The plea adds that it is time that the courts frame rules or guidelines which would help the press cover investigations that are sub-judice.
The plea by the former top cops submits that "‘media trial’ has resulted into a parallel investigation being undertaken by private individuals, rendering opinions, exposing material witnesses and divulging crucial pieces of evidence which, in turn, hampers the work of investigating agencies."
The Union of India, Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association, News Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Udhav Thackeray government are the respondents in the case.
The plea seeks order and direction for the police so that guidelines and rules could be issued to the respondents and followed by the media in order to avoid jeopardizing the reputation of the police or cause the public to lose faith in the system and institution.
The petitioners urge the court for directions so that "balanced and ethical" reporting is done for criminal investigations and that media houses indulge in responsible journalism instead of raking in Television Rating Points (TRPs).