Supreme Court rejects Election Commission’s plea to limit court reporting by media | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Election Commission’s stand that the media should only report court orders and not the scathing observations of judges during hearings, and said intense, minute-to-minute reporting of court proceedings fostered a sense of transparency and public confidence in the adjudication process.
“In the 1950s, the proceedings of constitutional courts were reported by a handful of newspapers. But in today’s age, the proceedings before any constitutional court in important matters relating to public interest get reported minute by minute not only by the mainstream media and the electronic media but also by social media. That does not mean the judges should feel restrained from asking uncomfortable questions about the functioning of authorities, both executive and constitutional,” a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said.

The bench explained to the EC that judges asking questions to a lawyer was reflective of the unique dialogue process of scrutiny adopted by Indian courts before making a decision. “A lawyer is always in the dock and judges ask searing questions. That does not mean the judge is against the lawyer or the client he is representing. It is to elicit the best response,” it added.
While referring to the EC as an important pillar of democracy, the bench said, “Media is an important watchdog to maintain the sanctity of democracy. The dialogue process of scrutiny in court proceedings, by getting reported by the media, reflects genuine application of mind (by judges) and fosters confidence in the minds of the general public about the system.”
Appearing for the EC, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said, “We as lawyers welcome questions from judges. We cannot say the media should not report. But the judges must ask questions which are contextual and give an opportunity to parties before making scathing remarks.”
Justice Chandrachud said, “There are judges and judges. Some are reticent while some are garrulous. The observations are reflective of a judge’s individual personality and in the adjudication of public interest matters, especially when citizens are under immense stress because of exponential rise in Covid cases, it is bound to reflect the public sentiment. The endeavour of the judiciary is to ensure greater public good.
“We cannot say the media will not report the dialogue process intrinsic to the adjudication process in constitutional courts. In today’s time, the media cannot be gagged in this manner.”



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