PIL dismissed by the Kerala HC seeking regulations with regard to print and electronic media

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Aug 2020 4:09pm

PIL dismissed by the Kerala HC seeking regulations with regard to print and electronic media

The Kerala High Court on Friday has dismissed a Public Interest litigation filed by Advocate Halvi KS for formulating rules and guidelines to modulate Print and Electronic Media.

The petitioner had approached the court asserting that the media is abusing the privilege of Freedom of speech and expression for political benefits and are creating apprehension in the minds of public with regard to their political leaders and government servants.

The petitioner has referred to various scenarios where media has acted as judges, and have interfered with fair trial of an accused in criminal matters. Halvi KS says that laws prevailing in the country regarding the same are not sufficient to stop the irresponsible acts like ‘Media Trials’, and hence the court should interfere into the matter and should form proper guidelines for print and electronic media.

Hon’ble Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly referred to the case of Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited v. Securities and Exchange Board of India [(2012) 10 SCC 603] in which it was held that setting out a rule to direct the exercises of the media is certifiably not an effective proposition. The court noted that it was likewise held in the said judgment that an earlier restriction pre-empting the privilege to the right to freedom of speech and expression ensured under the Constitution of India is impossible, except under extraordinary conditions and that too subsequent to thinking about the issues on a case to case premise.
The court also said that the Press Council Act 1978 envisages methods to tackle situations like these and to control cable television network there is Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995, and Cable Television Network Rules, 1994. These legislations have sufficient provisions to control functioning of the electronic media. The bench ruled while dismissing the PIL that, “We have no hesitation to hold that a public interest litigation to frame guidelines to restrict the media on the basis of the allegations made in the writ petition cannot be entertained and no guidelines can be framed taking into account the contentions put forth by the petitioner. We also feel that the judgements rendered by the Apex Court would make it clear that the media can be restricted by the courts on a case to case basis.”

Tagged: Kerala HC   electronic media   print media   Public Interest litigation   Advocate Halvi KS   criminal matters   Chief Justice S. Manikumar   Justice Shaji P. Chaly   Press Council Act 1978  
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