Dont Cross Lakshman Rekha: Bombay High Court On Media Coverage In Sushant Singh Rajput Case

Image Credit: The Times of India 

The Logical Indian Crew

"Don't Cross Lakshman Rekha": Bombay High Court On Media Coverage In Sushant Singh Rajput Case

A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni held that the press, particularly Republic TV and Times Now, "crossed boundaries" in their reportage on the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who committed suicide.

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The Bombay High court on Monday said that the media trails amounted to contempt of court and asked the press not to cross the proverbial "Lakshman Rekha", reported Deccan Herald.

The court observed that some news channels' coverage of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case was "contemptuous".

A bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni observed that press, particularly Republic TV and Times Now, in their Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput's coverage death "crossed boundaries". Rajput was found hanging in his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14, 2020.

"The two channels started a vicious campaign of masquerading as the crusaders of truth and justice and the saviours of the situation," the bench said.

It also noted that some of their content amounted to contempt of court but restrained from taking any action against them.

The observations came while the court was hearing a bunch of petitions seeking a restraining order on the coverage on the events and probe following Rajput's death.

The court also issued guidelines on reporting suicides or any 'sensitive' investigations and urged the press not to cross the "Lakshman Rekha" (a line not to be crossed) on their coverage.

The pleas had also alleged that some TV channels had been running a negative campaign against the Mumbai police that was probing the 34-year-old actor's death before it was transferred to the CBI.

The court also told the press that the temptation to sensationalise should be resisted and asked the journalists/reporters not to override society's duty to educate the masses with fair, accurate and responsible reports.

The bench said while the press had its right to free speech and expression, the same could not infringe upon a citizen's rights. "As it is, the dignity of an individual, even after he is dead, cannot be left to the mercy of the journalists/ reporters," the HC said.

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