New Delhi, April 17 (Ajit Weekly News) A Delhi court on Monday directed Aaj Tak news channel not to air the findings of the narco analysis and psychological evaluation done on Aaftab Amin Poonawala, the accused in the murder of Shraddha Walkar case, till the next hearing.
Additional Sessions Judge Manisha Khurana Kakkar of the Saket Court Complex granted the Delhi police liberty to approach a higher court for pursuing the remedy requested in their application for restraining news channels from airing or publishing any content related to the FIR registered in the case.
“The publication of the said document, especially the CCTV footage, can severely prejudice the right of fair trial of the accused as enshrined under Article 21 (protection to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India, and the channel cannot be allowed to telecast the content of the same so as to conduct a media trial,” Kakkar said.
She also cited a Delhi High Court ruling of 2001 that said the media has no place in the administration of justice once the proceedings have begun.
The court then took note of an undertaking by the news channel’s lawyer that it would not broadcast, publish, or otherwise make available the contents of the voice layered test, narco analysis, or conversation captured on Dr. Practo’s App, for the following three days.
“Thus, in view of the undertaking given on behalf of the said channel in the court today and in view of the aforesaid judgments, the said channel shall not telecast psychological assessment and voice layered test, narco analysis and conversation recorded on the App of Dr Practo/documents as well as charge sheet and CCTV footage for the next three days, i.e., till April 20,” the court said.
“You (Delhi Police) might also approach the constitutional court and exercise your remedy. You need an order that will help you with other channels also. It would be in your favour to get an order from a higher court,” the judge said.
Amit Prasad, a special public prosecutor, claimed that because digital content is sensitive by nature, broadcasting it would jeopardise the accused’s right to a fair trial in addition to having an adverse effect on law and order.
He said: “A media trial creates a bias not only in the minds of the general public, but also puts pressure on the court while taking decisions.”
The advocate for Aaj Tak argued that there is no provision under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which could empower the present court to pass any such restraint order and that there are precedents to the effect that only constitutional courts (Supreme Court and high courts) have such inherent power.
He added that no prejudice is likely to be caused to the accused in case such content is telecast.
On April 10, the prosecution had claimed that such telecast would be damaging, not only for the case, but will also impact the accused and the family members of the victim.
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S