Delhi HC has dismissed a PIL seeking restrictions on media reporting of the sexual harassment allegations against CJI.
The bench headed by CJ Rajendra Menon observed that as the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, the High Court cannot interfere.
The PIL was filed by an organisation called the Anti-Corruption Council of India, stating that “merely a false allegation affidavit” filed by a dismissed employee “cannot be built as a pillar to put allegations on the Chief Justice of India”, a PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking that unless the sexual harassment claim is proved in the Supreme Court’s in-house inquiry, the media should be restricted from advertising and besmirch the image of the CJI and the Indian Judicial System.
the petition avers, “whenever any derogatory comments or news pertaining to an individual or celebrity or any politician or nation is shown or cast then particularly to make breaking news, the media and the internet promote it and without going into the depth and reality of the news, cast it, re-cast it and become the voice of the victim without knowing whether or not the victim is a real victim”.
The petitioner “strongly suspects the involvement of Anti-national elements behind the organisation of such acts” and that “the news rotated putting an allegation against the Chief Justice of India is paid news which reflects a direct hit on the image of the country itself by the country media”.
Naming as respondents the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Press Council of India, the social media platforms of WhatsApp, Google, Youtube and Linkedin, the plea contends that “the part played by the respondents in connivance with the dismissed employee of the office of CJI ensures that the respondents are trying hard to fail the Indian judicial system which directly points towards some other alliance to take over our judicial system”.
At an urgent hearing convened on April 20 in the wake of her alleged grievance circulated by the ex-employee among the judges of the apex court, the bench (on which CJ Gogoi had sat himself) had observed, “Having considered the matter, we refrain from passing any judicial order at this moment leaving it to the wisdom of the media to show restraint, act responsibly as is expected from them and accordingly decide what should or should not be published as wild and scandalous allegations undermine and irreparably damage reputation and negate independence of judiciary. We would therefore at this juncture leave it to the media to take off such material which is undesirable.”