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"The medial trial in the death of the Actor Sushant Singh Rajput's case is posing real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice," the plea states.
Three activists have moved the Bombay High Court seeking directions to prominent television networks to restrict reportage that could hamper the investigation into the demise of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. (Nilesh Navlakha and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors.)
The news channels impleaded in the petition include Times Now, Republic TV, Zee News, NDTV, News 18, and India Today.
"....the medial trial in the death of the Actor Sushant Singh Rajput's case is posing real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice, much less, the criminal justice system, or to the fairness of trial..."
The petitioners describe themselves as law abiding citizens alarmed at the "falling standards of journalism and propaganda news".
The petition, terming the nature of reporting as sensationalisation, also alleges that this adversely impacts the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Sushant Singh Rajput case. According to the petitioners, news channels have gone so far as to display Call Detail Records and personal contact details of the accused.
Further, it is stated that insinuations have been made about the involvement of prominent politicians and officials, while the accused named in the FIR has already been convicted by news channels.
Thus, the petition seeks that the the tenets of the Programme Code laid down in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the 1994 Rules is followed in both letter and spirit.
Additionally, it is prayed that that the Centre, the Press Council of India, and the News Broadcasters Association (respondents 1-3) issue instructions to the media to adhere to the Act and Rules, and take necessary stringent action against those that violate journalistic ethics by engaging in media trial.
It is emphasized that the petitioners do not seek to impinge upon the freedom of the press/media. The plea states,
The restriction on a fair trial would serve to neutralise/balance reportage, it is submitted.
The petition was drawn by Advocates Rajesh Imamdar, Shashwat Anand, and Anand Bhat.