The Supreme Court Thursday advocated balanced reporting of court proceedings, saying reports need to carry views of both sides.
“My personal view is that if the views of both the sides are covered, particularly when one’s reputation is involved, then many of these problems would not arise,” Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia said.
He was hearing an appeal to put in place guidelines to balance the freedom of press with the rights of accused under trial.
Kapadia said the commercial considerations and race for competitive edge for instant news had taken over media reporting and was posing a problem.
“We are trying to protect the press. But can it pre-judge the evidence before the (trial) court?” he asked.
Sahara India Real Estate Corp had protested against a news channel’s reporting of a case involving the company.
Besides Kapadia, other judges on the bench are D.K. Jain, S.S. Nijjar, Ranjana Prakash Desai and J.S. Khehar.
Appearing for the Editors Guild of India, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan told the court that it could not frame the guidelines to regulate media reporting of court proceedings.
He said even if guidelines were framed, these could not be enforced.
“If the Supreme Court lays down guidelines, who will enforce them? Supreme Court or trial court?” Dhawan asked. The trial court had no power to interdict, he added.
Dhawan said that both the normative and institutional remedies should be self regulatory.
When Justice Jain asked about the steps to prevent misreporting, Dhawan said that prohibitive provisions in law were preventive in nature.
The chief justice asked about guidelines that spelt remedies in respect of one-sided reporting by the media.
Kapadia said every day there were reports that were one sided.