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Supreme Court On Plea Made By The Election Commission Of India To Restrain The Media

The Supreme Court Has Declined A Plea Made By The Election Commission Of India To Restrain The Media:

The Supreme court has declined a plea made by the Election Commission of India to restrain the media from reporting oral remarks made by a Division Bench of the Madras High court.

  • The HC judges had said that poll body officials should be charged with “murder” for allowing rallies and mass gatherings during the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
  • The judges had remarked that the EC was solely responsible for the COVID surge.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

  • Real-time reportage of court proceedings, including the oral exchanges in courtrooms between judges and lawyers, is part of the right to freedom of speech.
  • With the advent of technology, we are seeing reporting proliferate through social media forums which provide real-time updates to a much wider audience.
  • This is an extension of the freedom of speech and expression that the media possesses.
  • This constitutes a virtual extension of the open court.
  • Such live reporting of court proceedings is a cause of celebration rather than apprehension.
  • Except in cases of child sexual abuse and marital issues, the phenomenon of free press should extend to court proceedings.
  • The court said oral observations made during the course of a hearing do not bind the parties and do not form a part of the judgment.
  • An exchange of views was intrinsic to the applicability of mind and the process of judging. .
  • On the nature of the remarks made by the Madras HC, the apex court said “a degree of caution and circumspection would have allayed the problems in the present case.