Media cannot be stopped from reporting oral observations made by the apex court, the Supreme Court told the Election Commission(EC) on Monday. The top court, while hearing an EC's plea, said that their request is too far-fetched and cannot be allowed.
The bench comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice M R Shah was hearing the Election Commission's petition challenging the Madras High Court's verbal observation that the "commission should probably be booked for murder," reported India Today
Justice DY Chandrachud said they don't want to "demoralise the High Courts as they are the important pillars of our democracy."
"We cannot say that media will not report the discussion that takes place in court. The discussion that takes place is in as much public interest as the final order of the court. The discussion in court is a dialogue between the bar and the bench. Media is a very powerful watchdog in protecting the sanctity of this process. It fosters a sense of faith in the community," the bench observed. The court said that judges are also humans and are stressed right now. "Take this in the right spirit," the bench told the EC.
The EC argued that the harsh criticism was welcome, but holding them responsible for the second wave is uncalled for, and the observations should not have been made. "When rallies were happening, the situation was not that bad. We have serious objections to the observations. The high court's observation led to a continued discussion on electronic media that we are murderers," the EC said.
The EC on April 30, urged Madras High Court to refrain the media from publishing oral observations and restrict the reportage to written orders. However, the Madras HC refused to entertain their plea.
On April 27, the Madras HC came down heavily on the EC for not acting against the leaders and political parties who broke COVID-19 protocol. "Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19. Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably," the Madras High Court had observed.
The EC had called the remarks "baseless, disparaging and derogatory, and uncalled for" and moved to Supreme Court against the High Court's remarks.