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Reporting exact contents of chargesheet before cognizance taken is disturbing trend: Delhi Court on media trial of North-East Delhi violence case

ANI | Updated: Mar 02, 2021 23:37 IST

By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The Karkardooma court on Tuesday observed that there is a "disturbing trend" about the reporting of the exact contents of the supplementary chargesheet filed in North-East Delhi violence before the court took cognizance of the chargesheet and the counsels for the accused are provided copies of it.
The observation was made by additional session judge Amitabh Rawat while taking the cognizance on a supplementary chargesheet filed by Delhi Police in connection with the North-East Delhi violence.
"There is a disturbing trend about the reporting of the exact contents of the charge-sheet before cognizance is even taken or counsels for the accused are provided copies of it. It is one thing to report generally about the charge-sheet but quite another to reproduce it as it is and thus, obviously, the question of leakage would arise. This is grossly unfair and unjustified and the court expects that it would not occur in the future," the court noted.

Observation of additional session judge Amitabh Rawat came during the proceeding that, an important question of media trial was raised. Court said, "It is indubitably true that every accused has the fundamental right to the free and fair investigation as also trial. Media reporting particularly on social media remains charged up all the time. Media is free to cover the stories but they must also be conscious of remaining careful and objective in their approach."
Court also said that there is a world of difference between an accused and a convict. "Though it is not possible to lay down guidelines regarding media coverage, in the present oral application and in the present jurisdiction, yet, in my opinion, there should, at least, always be a disclaimer when reporting, whether it is the version of the police/prosecution or the accused instead of presenting as if it is the order of the Court," it said.
"...Labeling the police as completely unfair or the accused as a convict itself is not a healthy sign and which impacts the process of the criminal justice system. The principle and the tenets of a free and fair trial, are sacrosanct and inviolable..." Court added.
The Karkardooma court of Delhi on Tuesday took cognisance of offenses under various charges dealing with sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, abetment, and criminal conspiracy against 18 accused including Umar Khalid and Tahir Hussain.
More than 750 cases were registered over the northeast Delhi violence, in which at least 53 people were killed and several others were injured. So far, over 250 chargesheets have been filed in the riots-related cases in which 1,153 accused have been charge-sheeted. (ANI)