Team  SoOLEGAL

“The police or any other agency cannot use the media to influence public opinion to accept that the accused is guilty of an alleged offence while the matter is still being investigated.”Delhi HC

Team SoOLEGAL 28 Jul 2020 3:25pm

“The police or any other agency cannot use the media to influence public opinion to accept that the accused is guilty of an alleged offence while the matter is still being investigated.”Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has noted that Police cannot use media to influence public opinion against the accused. This order comes in a case filed by Devangana Kalita, a PinjraTod member, whowas seeking to quash the press release against her by the Delhi Police alleging her involvement in the conspiracy of Delhi riots.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru passed the said order while hearing the matter where the Delhi police had publicised the evidences collected against the accused.

Kalita contended that the press note publicizing the evidences against her was prejudicial. To that context, the Delhi Police had reverted by saying that the move of publicising the evidences was done to put “things in the right perspective” as many people were criticising Delhi Police for the arrest of Devangana Kalita.

The court with this regard added that “selective disclosure” of information as to influence the minds of the public regarding an issue and to use media to change a public opinion against an accused, especially when the investigation is at the developing stage, would not be permissible.

It was also submitted by the police that it did only release a single press note and that was done to normalise the situation that on the social media. Police had no intention of influencing the public or maligning the accused in the said case.

The Court has further interpreted that, “such actions may prejudicially affect a fair trial and also it may, in some cases, have the effect of stripping the person involved of his or her dignity or subjecting him or her to avoidable ignominy

The Delhi HC also stated that the right to freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and can be restricted if it affects the administration of justice and it hampers the right of an accused to a fair trial. 



Tagged: Delhi High Court   Delhi Police   Delhi riots   Justice Vibhu Bakhru  
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