Millennium Post

SC bars media from reporting proceedings in agitators' accountability

The Supreme Court on Thursday barred the media from reporting the proceedings for making agitators accountable for the destruction of public and private properties during agitations as they were "sensitive".

Recording at the hearing's commencement that they "required the media not to report the proceedings of this case, which are sensitive in nature", a bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan in their order said: "We are recording the same in our order and hereby affirming our direction that the media (electronic as well as print) shall not report the proceedings of this case till the final decision."

The court then referred the issue to be heard a three judges bench as on an earlier occasion in 2009, the same issue was dealt by a three judge bench.

"During the course of hearing, a counsel for the petitioner invited our attention to the decision of this court in destruction of public and private properties, wherein the issue, which is subject matter of consideration, was debated upon.

"We are also informed by a counsel that the above matter was dealt with by a division bench of three judges. Since the issue under consideration is important, and the earlier matter was also considered by a bench of three judges, we are of the view, that this matter should also be placed before a division bench of three judges," the court said in its order.

It then directed the registry to "seek appropriate instructions in this behalf from the chief justice of India for listing of this case" as it directed further hearing of the matter in the first week of April.

The apex court on February 24 had said it would lay down guidelines to act against people damaging public property and holding people to ransom in the course of their agitation as it had wondered where was the country heading.

The court order prohibiting the media from reporting the proceedings in the case came in the course of the hearing of a plea by Gujarat Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel challenging the invoking of sedition charges against him.

Gujarat Police has accused Hardik Patel of sedition for an incident in Surat wherein the Patidar leader was caught on camera telling one of his followers that instead of committing suicide, he should take revenge on the policemen.
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