The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday a petition filed by CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai seeking a stay against the directive of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly ordering his production before it in police custody on October 27.
A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal made it clear that sting operations by the media can be permitted only if it is in public interest and carried out sincerely. Any such attempt made purely for commercial consideration or for pushing the TRPs of a channel is not justifiable.
Other Judges on the Bench were Justice CK Thakkar and Justice V Raveendran.
The Uttar Pradesh State Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution last week against Sardesai for making some derogatory remarks against the politicians as a class.
The remarks were allegedly made during the telecast of a sting operation conducted by CNN-IBN which showed some MPs and MLAs financing and patronising those who indulged in illegal and anti-social activities such as drug peddling.
The apex court directed senior counsel Mukul Rohatagi, appearing for the petitioner, to file the petition in the registry on Wednesday itself and get it numbered as tomorrow is the last working day and the court will reopen on October 30 after Diwali vacations and Sardesai is to be taken to the Assembly in custody on October 27.
The court also referred to a sting operation conducted by a private TV news channel showing Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Manik Rao Gavit talking to a gangster with the latter asking for the arrangement of the transfer of a Jail Superintendent in return for helping the minister's relative in some land dispute.
The court said it was not genuine as it was never telecast again and was certainly not in public interest.