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Reporters can cover drink driving case: HC

mumbai Updated: Feb 06, 2010 00:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Reporters can attend the court proceedings and take notes in the Nooria Haveliwala drink driving case.

The Bombay High Court on Friday quashed and set aside the order of the Esplanade magistrate’s court order barring reporters from attending the proceedings.

Haveliwala has been accused of running over a traffic police officer and a biker while driving allegedly in an inebriated state on January 30.

Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari on Friday also said that reporters should not cause inconvenience to the court.

On Thursday, the metropolitan magistrate’s court rejected the application filed by representatives of the media seeking permission to cover the court proceedings saying there was “lack of space in the court room”.

Magistrate V.W. Sonawane observed that freedom of press is not absolute and said it [freedom] is subject to conditions, including availability of space. He also observed that media is not an intervener in the Haveliwala case.

Mediapersons, through their lawyer Rizwan Merchant, then approached high court. Merchant argued that barring the media is in violation of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India that guarantees every citizen freedom of speech and expression.
He argued that there could be reasonable restriction on the media if the matter concerns national security, a public order or an offence such as rape, which should be dealt with sensitivity.

The additional public prosecutor also said the state government did not support the magistrate’s order.

In a related development, the magistrate remanded Haveliwala to judicial custody till February 18.