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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

‘Support press freedom but Malegaon sensitive’: National Investigation Agency

The agency had in its plea last month argued that private hearing was essential to maintain harmony and ensure safety of witnesses.

mumbai Updated: Aug 20, 2019 03:22 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Mumbai
An in-camera hearing is conducted in private with only the judge, lawyers, accused and witnesses in attendance. The proceedings are not open to the media or members of the public.
An in-camera hearing is conducted in private with only the judge, lawyers, accused and witnesses in attendance. The proceedings are not open to the media or members of the public.(HT image)
         

The National Investigation Agency on Monday told a special court here that while it is in favour of freedom of press, the trial in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case should be held in-camera as it is a sensitive matter.

The NIA was responding to an application filed by several mediapersons earlier this month against the agency’s plea for in-camera hearing and barring the press from the proceedings.

The agency had in its plea last month argued that private hearing was essential to maintain harmony and ensure safety of witnesses.

In their application, mediapersons urged the court to grant them a hearing first.

An in-camera hearing is conducted in private with only the judge, lawyers, accused and witnesses in attendance. The proceedings are not open to the media or members of the public.

Special NIA Judge V S Padalkar had directed the NIA to file its affidavit responding to the mediapersons’ application.

In its application submitted on Monday before the court, the NIA reiterated that in camera proceedings were required so as to maintain harmony in the society and security of witnesses.

“The sensitivity of this case is known to everybody, especially the journalists,” the agency said.

“The prosecution is in favour of freedom of speech and expression, freedom of the press and right to information but considering the sensitive nature of the case, prosecution has sought for the trial to be heard in-camera and the press may not be allowed to attend the same,” it said.

Six people were killed and 100 injured after a bomb attached to a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon in 2008.