“Parading an accused before the media and releasing his ‘confessional’ statement violated the right of the accused,” said the Delhi High Court on Monday.
Ordering the Delhi police to stop this practice, a Bench headed by Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah has asked the police if
they could issue guidelines banning it.
“The police should not deliberately make the accused pose before the media. But there is no harm in cameramen clicking pictures while the accused is being whisked away by police,” said the Bench.
The court is also of the view that the police should not release the confessional statements of the accused till a chargesheet is filed.
The police have also been ordered not to make any opinion about the guilt or innocence of an accused at press meets.
The court is contemplating making rules for the police and media — both print and electronic — to be followed regarding release and publication of 'confessional statements' by accused in various cases when they are in police custody.
The move was prompted by publication of ‘confessional statements’ of three accused allegedly involved in the September 13, 2008, blasts in the Capital, by a leading English news magazine.
The reporter had got access to the accused persons while they were in police custody immediately after their arrest from Batla House.
Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, an NGO, had brought the news item to the court’s attention.
Its counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that the police were “intentionally leaking false information and planting incriminating statements against the accused in the media”.
The Bench said that there has to be some self-imposed restriction in the media.