The Editors Guild of India on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court to refrain from laying down guidelines on court reporting and instead suggested that the court discuss the issue with senior editors.
Appearing before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan submitted on behalf of the Editors Guild that such norms will imperil free speech.
"We have not developed sufficiently rich jurisprudence on the question of balancing media rights against other rights. The shadow of contempt law hangs over our jurisprudence," Dhavan told the bench.
Dhavan said the government was desisting from coming out with such legislation due to public pressure and there was no doubt that it will like guidelines from the courts and this can be resolved through other ways.
There was a need for the court to sit with the editors for discussing the guidelines, Dhavan suggested.
He said it would be difficult for the court to issue guidelines in the absence of any power under the common law topostpone or prevent publication of proceedings held in open court.
Stating that there were 13 instances of judges, senior advocates being flayed in reports, the bench wanted to know at what stage in a PIL, media should publish the contents.