Supreme Court Rejects Pleas Seeking Restriction on Media Trials, Creation of Broadcast Regulatory Authority

  • Salil Tiwari
  • 03:33 PM, 12 Aug 2023

Read Time: 05 minutes


Court pointed out that it is already dealing with hate speeches/news items in separate petitions.

The Supreme Court earlier this week rejected a plea seeking direction to the Central Government to restrict media trials and establishment of an independent authority for the purpose of regulating and facilitating development of broadcasting services in India among other reliefs. 

The bench of Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Sanjay Karol observed that the top court was already dealing with hate speeches/news items in separate petitions and as per the counter-affidavits of the authorities in the plea, a mechanism had already been created by the authorities to address the grievances made in the petition.

"The Committee headed by a retired Judge of this Court consists of members of the Civil Society as well," highlighted the court. 

Apart from that, court opined that in the petition, the prayers were too wide and the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression had also to be kept in mind in such matters. 

"We, therefore, decline to entertain this petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India. The Writ Petition is accordingly rejected," ordered the court. 

Further, court ordered that if the petitioner so desires, he can always make a representation to the appropriate authorities pointing out alleged illegalities committed by news channels.

Along with this plea, another petition was also connected in which guidelines were sought to regulate Media Channels and establishment of a 'Media Tribunal".

In the second plea, Advocates Shashwat Anand and Rajesh Inamdar appeared for the petitioner, film producer, Nilesh Navalakha and Nitin Memane, and argued that establishment of a Media Tribunal is required to hear and expeditiously adjudicate complaints of violation of programme code against media, filed by viewers/ citizens.

The same is necessary to bring about a balance between the right to freedom of speech and expression of the Media-Businesses and the competing right to information of the citizenry under Article 19(1)(a), right to reputation and the right to dignity under Article 21, as well as in the interests of preserving peace and harmony in the nation, the counsel submitted. 

However, stating that the petitioners had remedy of seeking appropriate writ from the jurisdictional high court, the division bench rejected the connected plea as well.