SC declines restraint on Aarushi murder coverage
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Last Updated: Friday, February 25, 2011, 21:16
New Delhi: Observing it was an important tool of democracy, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to initiate any fresh contempt action against the media for extensively reporting on Aarushi Talwar murder case.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph, however, hoped the media would exercise certain restraint and self-regulation in reporting such incidents.

"We expect the media to exercise restraint and self-regulation. Punishing the media will not solve the problem. The media is an important tool of democracy. Let us see what kind of self-restraint they will observe.”

"It is a matter that needs to be examined at length", Justice Kabir speaking for the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while rejecting the plea of petitioner and advocate Surat Singh who sought initiation of contempt proceedings against "India Today" magazine for reporting minute details of the Aarushi murder case.

Singh submitted the magazine was reporting explicit details of the deceased despite the apex court's earlier order on July 22, 2008, asking the media not to pre-judge the issue.

On May 16, 2008 Aarushi Talwar, daughter of a dentist couple, and the family's domestic help Hemaraj were found murdered in the Talwars' house in Jalvayu Vihar in Noida.

The apex court, while declining to entertain Singh's plea, however, transferred to itself a similar writ petition filed in the Delhi High Court seeking certain guidelines for media in reporting pending criminal matters as they affect the rights of the victims and accused.

The bench posted both the petitions for final hearing to April 19.

During the earlier hearing, the bench had favoured the idea of evolving certain norms for coverage of criminal cases by the media in order to protect the right to privacy and reputation of affected persons.

Singh's PIL had claimed the extensive media coverage of the killings had badly damaged the reputation of Aarushi's parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and sought restrictions on the media from reporting such cases.

The advocate suggested certain norms should be evolved, both for the media and the police, for broadcasting and sharing of information between them.

He submitted the norms for the media should make it clear that no innocent person is shown as guilty without the completion of investigation.

Similarly, the police should not rush to the media before the completion of investigation into criminal cases.

The parents of Aarushi Nupur had on February 21 moved the Allahabad High Court seeking a stay against a CBI special court order to initiate trial proceedings against them in the Noida double murder case.

On February 9, CBI court had ordered them to face trial in the murder of their daughter and servant Hemraj more than two years ago, rejecting the agency's closure report in the case.

Special Judicial Magistrate Preeti Singh had taken cognisance of CBI's closure report and issued summons to the parents to appear before her on February 28, making them accused on charges of murder, destruction of evidence, conspiracy and common intention to commit the crime.


First Published: Friday, February 25, 2011, 21:16

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