Plea in HC to restrain media from broadcasting derogatory statements against judiciary, lawyers

A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court Thursday seeking direction to the Centre to regulate or restrain the media from broadcasting any fake or derogatory statements against the judiciary and lawyers following November 2 clash between advocates and the police at Tis Hazari Courts Complex.

The petition filed by two lawyers claimed that various channels have aired the news on the issue in an arbitrary manner even though the matter is pending before the high court.

According to court sources, the petition has some defects and is lying under objections.

The PIL said it was neither against the freedom of speech and expression of the media nor against those who criticise the judiciary, lawyers or police, it is for the reasonable right of the media with the sense of journalism.

"The instant petition is against the unreasonable and unwarrantable exercise of journalism where an issue is shaped as agitation and tension between the pillars of democracy, and the law and order of the state comes to a standstill situation and all this for an objective of TRP (Television Rating Point)," it said.

The petition filed by advocates Pawan Prakash Pathak and Prakash Sharma, further alleged that the strike and protest by various district bar associations is the direct outcome of the media trial which is being aired round the clock on all national news channels and social media platforms.

"Such arbitrary news which is being aired against the lawyers fraternity and judiciary is illegal and arbitrary in law and violative of Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution," it alleged.

The plea sought direction to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to regularise the content on social media and other platforms, which could promote the feeling of enmity between the police and judiciary.

The tension between police personnel and lawyers had been building up since last Saturday when a clash over a parking dispute led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.

Lawyers in six district courts are abstaining from work since November 4, protesting against the clash.

Thousands of police personnel protested outside the Police Headquarters on Tuesday to demand action against those involved in an attack on their colleague outside the Saket court, the unprecedented scenes of police protest leading their chief Amulya Patnaik urging them to resume duty.