The Supreme Court on Monday once again restrained the media from sensational or scandalous reporting on the Aarushi murder case, as the teenager’s parents accused the prosecuting agency CBI for the purported leaks to “damage” their reputation.
A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir reiterated its July 23, 2008 restraint order on the media and sought an explanation from the CBI whether the “leaks” in the media were based on the briefing given by the agency or were just “imaginary reports.”
Acting on an application by the slain teenager’s parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, the bench issued notices to two English dailies.
The Talwars criticised the articles that appeared in the dailies recently. They said the content pointed towards the couple’s involvement in the murder of their daughter and domestic help Hemraj Banjade.
The bench said nobody wanted to gag the press, but an “irresponsible” press and media reporting could be restrained. “The press is very important. There has to be self-regulation. If it fails, what to do?” the bench said.
It slammed the CBI for failing to act against the “malicious” reports based on alleged “leaks” by the agency. The bench told additional solicitor general P.P. Malhotra, appearing for the CBI, to find out who were the officers or sources, quoted in the news reports, who were speaking to the press instead of investigating the case.
The court said: “We request you to take it up with your department and instruct your officials not to indulge in such things. Who is the CBI officer? They are more interested in going to the press than investigate. Instead of going to the press, you should investigate.”
“Do not sensationalise, She was a young girl of 14 years,” the court said, pointing out that scandalous reporting would adversely affect the victim and her family’s reputation. It added the court was against sensationalism and “character assassination” that reflected in the reports. “It’s a serious matter,” the court stated.
The court also directed the National Broadcasting Association (NBA) to file an affidavit, stating details of the self-regulatory guidelines that have been laid down for TV reporting and asked the Centre to place its rules and regulations governing the grant of licences to publications.
Talwars’ application is being heard alongwith a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Surat Singh, who had moved SC on July 23.
Singh wants the court to lay down guidelines to restrain the media from any sensational or scandalous reporting on the case.
Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit in her parents’ home at Jalvayu Vihar in Noida on May 16, 2008.
Hemraj was also found murdered in the same house the next day.