The Delhi High Court on Friday said it would examine the larger issue of rights of the media and the extent to which public and journalists could be allowed to be present at a rape trial.
“We will examine the issue and work on some methodology on how to allow reporting and at the same time protect the interest of the victim, her family and also of the accused,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said, admitting a petition filed by a group of journalists challenging a lower court’s order restraining the media from reporting the proceedings of trial in the recent Delhi gang rape.
The court refused to grant any immediate relief to the
journalists as he posted the petition for further hearing on February 13. The hearing of
the gang-rape case, which is being conducted day-to-day, will have made much progress
by then. Police told the court that the media should not
be allowed as all cases of rape must be conducted in-camera “especially in such a case with an emotional content and also in the best interest of speedy trial”.
Invoking Section 327(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, it said “it shall not be lawful for anybody to publish any matter regarding the proceedings except with the prior permission of the court”.
Meenakshi Lekhi, senior advocate appearing for the journalists, urged the court to lift the gag, saying “freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right and it should not be violated. It is a journalist's duty to report the case. The media have been reporting the case responsibly from Day One and have not revealed the name of the victim.”