The Delhi High Court has expressed disapproval of lawyers approaching the media to brief about their pending cases and wants the Bar Council of India (BCI) to step in.
“The spectacle of lawyers going before the media is disturbing,” Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah said today.
The expression of displeasure comes four months after the Supreme court voiced similar concern on the issue and sought the BCI’s intervention.
It had come in a series of direction given in the case where it upheld the conviction of senior advocate R.K. Anand for contempt in the BMW-hit-and-run TV sting case for trying to influence a key witness.
Supreme Court Judges Justices B.N. Agrawal, G.S. Singhvi and Aftab Alam had said, “We have viewed with disbelief senior advocates freely taking part in TV debates or giving interviews to a TV reporter/anchor on issues that are directly the subject matter of cases pending before the court and in which they are appearing for one of the sides.”
Justice Shah was in favour of inclusion of a BCI member in a committee to be formed by the government headed by a retired judge and comprising eminent personalities.
The committee would evolve guidelines for reporting of cases by the media in which investigations are on or in cases that are sub-judice.
The court also wants rules for the police and the media 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 confessions of three accused allegedly involved in September 13, 2008 blasts in the capital by an English magazine.
An NGO, Act Now for Harmony, told the court in a PIL that the police “intentionally” leaked false information and planting incriminating statements against the accused in the media which were not admissible as evidence.