Top court takes exception to selective disclosures by media in criminal trials
The Supreme Court on Thursday took serious exception to “selective disclosures” by the media in a criminal trial, pointing out that it ends up affecting the rights of both the accused and the victim.
The apex court was hearing a case related to the suicide of a doctor in Agra on August 6, following which her father registered a dowry harassment case against her husband and in-laws on August 7. Within a couple of days of the death, the alleged suicide note was published in local newspapers.
While examining the issue, the three judge bench of justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee said the investigating officer had a duty to investigate when information about the commission of a cognisable offence is brought to their attention. Unfortunately, this role is being compromised by the manner in which selective leaks take place in the public realm, it said.
“The sequence in this case appears to follow familiar patterns. Immediate publicity was given to the alleged suicide note. These examples are now becoming familiar. Selective disclosures to the media affect the rights of the accused in some cases and the rights of victims’ families in others.”The bench found this “selective leak” to be a disturbing trend and found it proper to transfer the investigation of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).