Eminent jurist Fali Sam Nariman on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it did not have the power to lay down binding guidelines on the media for reporting matters pending before courts.
Nariman, however, said it was possible for a court to restrain the media from reporting a particular matter, if it was convinced that news reporting could obstruct administration of justice. But, he said, the restriction should be case-specific.
“I don’t want freedom of the press to go. This is a society where we are not trying to curb freedom of the press but expand it,” he told the constitution bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, set up to frame guidelines for the media on reporting subjudice matters.
Nariman, the counsel for Sahara group, opened the arguments as it was on his application the court decided to take up the issue. Appearing for SEBI, attorney general GE Vahanvati said court guidelines could not be coercive but normative. He said self-regulation by the media was the way out. “The press is a public regulator. It has to come from within,” he told the court.