Sunday, April 29, 2012

Journalists must know their limits: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Thursday said it wanted journalists to know their limits in reporting court proceedings even as the central government favoured framing of guidelines for the media, claiming that the right to freedom of speech and expression was for the benefit of people and not the press.

Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia said that in the act of balancing the constitution’s Article 19(1)(a) (right to freedom of speech and expression) with Article 21 (right of life and accused’s right to fair trial) “we are limiting both. We can’t go beyond an extent”.

The court said that “We want the journalists to know their limitations” and added that it was not for stringent provisions. “We are not for journalists going to jail.”

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told the constitution bench of Chief Justice Kapadia, Justice D.K. Jain, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice R.P. Desai and Justice J.S. Khehar that the “freedom of speech is not for the benefit of the press but for the benefit of public”.

The court was hearing an application by the Sahara India Real Estate Corp voicing its grievance over a news channel reporting its proposal made to the Securities and Exchange Board of India on securing the money it mopped up from the market.

The court earlier said that it would frame guidelines for reporting on sub-judice matters.

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