Court restrains TV channel from telecasting portions of chargesheet
New Delhi: A sessions court on Monday directed TV news channel ‘Aaj Tak’ not to telecast the contents of the narco analysis and psychological assessment conducted on Aaftab Amin Poonawala, the accused in the Shraddha Walkar murder case, for three days.
Additional Sessions Judge Manisha Khurana Kakkar, meanwhile, granted the Delhi police liberty to approach a higher court for exercising the remedy sought in its application for restraining ‘Aaj Tak’ and other media channels not to telecast material related to the FIR registered in the case.
Referring to a January 2023 judgment of the Supreme Court, ASJ Kakkar said the chargesheet and its contents are not in the public domain and do not fall within the domain of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
“The publication of the said document, especially the CCTV footage, can severely prejudice the right of fair trial of the accused as enshrined under article 21 (protection to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India and the channel cannot be allowed to telecast the content of the same so as to conduct media trial,” the judge said.
She also referred to a 2001 judgement of the Delhi High Court, according to which, once proceedings have commenced media has no role to play in the administration of justice.
The court then noted an undertaking by the counsel for the news channel stating it will not telecast, publish or disseminate the contents of the Psychological Assessment and Voice layered test, narco analysis and conversation recorded on the App of Dr Practo for the next three days till April 20.
“Thus, in view of the undertaking given on behalf of the said channel in the court today and in view of the aforesaid judgments, the said channel shall not telecast Psychological Assessment and Voice layered test, Narco Analysis and conversation recorded on the App of Dr Practo/documents as well as chargesheet and CCTV footage for the next 3 days that is till April 20,” the court said.