Plea questions reporters’ right to access court proceedings

New Delhi, April 25: An NGO Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the media does not have a fundamental right to access courts and report their proceedings.

An apex court constitution bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice D.K. Jain, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice R.P. Desai and Justice J.S. Khehar was told by the counsel for NGO Youth for Equality that the court had unrestricted powers to take all the steps for ensuing free and fair trial.

As the NGO’s counsel Gopal Shankarnarayan questioned the media’s right to access the courts and report its proceedings, senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for th Editors’ Guild of India, sought an opportunity to rebut the contention.

Dhawan told the court that the hearing before the constitution bench was a suo motu proceeding. “We maintain that these are suo motu proceedings,” he told the court.

Chief Justice Kapadia said that this was not a suo motu case and it was rooted in the application by Sahara India Real Estate Corp into the reporting by a news channel of the information about the value of an asset that was communicated by its counsel to the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) counsel for securing the money it had mopped up from the market.

“We had asked Sahara (Sahara India Real Estate Corp) counsel F.S. Nariman to withdraw his case, he did not. Even if it were to withdraw, the SEBI has said that it would transpose itself in the case,” said Justice Kapadia.

On an application by Sahara India Real Estate Corp, the court had said that it would frame guidelines for reporting of sub-judice matter.

An application was also filed on behalf of Dara Singh who was convicted for killing missionaries in Odisha.

IANS