The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has imposed a ban on further news reports on the troop movement towards Delhi that had hit the headlines recently.
The matter was reported by The Indian Express earlier this month and was subsequently picked up by television channels, resulting in a controversy that forced the Prime Minister, the army and the defence ministry to issue clarifications.
On Tuesday, the court said, "The movement of army troops is not the kind of matter that should require public discussion at the cost of official secrecy and the security of country."
The division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit directed the Union home secretary, the Union secretary of I&B ministry and the UP principal secretary to ensure that the order is not violated.
The bench passed the order after a PIL was filed by social activist and freelance journalist Dr Nutan Thakur.
Thakur, who appeared in court, expressed her grave concern over the media reports.
She contended that such reports comprise serious interference in the handling of security issues by the army.
It also compromises the nation from the strategic point of view.
Vindicating her stance, Justice Singh directed that a copy of the order be issued to the officials concerned, the additional solicitor general and the chief standing counsel for immediate compliance.
"Without interfering with the independence of the media… we think it appropriate to direct the secretary home affairs, the secretary of I&B ministry and the UP principal secretary to ensure that there is no reporting or release of any news items on the subject," the court.
While issuing the direction, the court, however, dismissed the plea seeking a high-level probe into the report.