Every rape case to be tried in-camera: Police to Delhi HC

The Delhi Police opposed the media plea seeking access to the trial in the December 16 gang-rape case.

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Thursday opposed the media plea seeking access to the trial in the December 16 gang-rape case, telling the High Court that the enquiry and trial in every rape case should be held in-camera.

Appearing for the police before Justice Rajiv Shakdher, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan countered the claim of petitioners that this case is "exceptional" and the media has an independent right derived from the Constitution.

"The enquiry and also trial in a rape case has to be held in-camera in the interest of justice", he said.

The lawyer also argued the "right to report by the media is not absolute. The media cannot claim as a party in the case and the legal provisions would apply only to either the accused or the victim as they are the necessary parties”.

The counsel also questioned the maintainability of the writ petition before this court saying the petitioners should have filed a revision petition challenging the gag order passed by the magistrate as well as Sessions Court.

Seeking the court to dismiss the plea, the lawyer said, "This writ cannot be maintained as the alternative remedy is available which is by way of revision”.

Appearing for the petitioners, a group of accredited legal journalists, advocate Meenakshi Lekhi argued the media has a duty to access to all the cases, which is part of democratic system, and a blanket ban order against the media access is a "bad order" in a free society.

The lawyer sought an open trial in the case and submitted reporting of the gang-rape case is helping the society and due to wide coverage of the incident, two superior courts of the country have taken suo motu cognisance over the news reporting.

"Police cannot restrain the media from its right to access. On the contrary, it is working against the interest of justice," Lekhi argued.


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