Delhi HC forms committee to frame court reporting guidelines
The committee will recommend “methods of balancing a free press with the need for fair trial and ensuring integrity of judicial proceedings”. It will also suggest methodology for accreditation of court reporters through an independent process.delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2017 23:27 IST
The Delhi High Court has set up a six-member committee that will make recommendations on “how court proceedings ought to be covered in the media in Delhi”.
The committee has been given three months to come up with its guidelines for media personnel and organisations to follow while reporting on court cases and proceedings.
Acting chief justice Gita Mittal said in the order, “...it is a participatory endeavour by which certain principles can be evolved which ought to guide media organisations in their coverage of court proceedings and cases”.
The committee will be chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Ruma Pal. Justice Manmohan of the Delhi High Court will be its convenor.
Other members are retired justice G Raghuram, former IAS officer SC Panda, Arghya Sengupta of Vidhi Centre for legal policy, and senior advocate Dayan Krishnan and advocate Bharat Chugh.
The order said that in the recent past, media trials had “led to formation of populist views which in turn have threatened to prejudice the process of justice delivery, by influencing the judgment of the stakeholders (police officers, judge) involved by putting the onus of fulfilling public expectation on them”.
“Media reports on court proceedings have actually exhibited a disproportionate influence on public opinion,” the order said.
“The current state of news reporting in India is such that often several news organisations succumb to the pressures to report in a manner that sensationalise news,” the order said adding, “There is growing tendency to selectively report isolated court observations without reference to context”.
The intention behind the guidelines, the order said, is that though remedy such as contempt of court is available for inaccurate or prejudicial coverage, “they become available only after the media has already erred, and often, irreversible damage to the case done”.
The committee will recommend “methods of balancing a free press with the need for fair trial and ensuring integrity of judicial proceedings”. It will also suggest methodology for accreditation of court reporters through an independent process.