HC flays media trial of court cases

The High Court on Thursday flayed private news channels for conducting debates on subjects which are pending before the court, by inviting legal consultants and parties for discussions and comments on court proceedings.

Hearing the bail petition of IAS officer N Vishwanathan, who is alleged to be involved in illegal mining cases, Justice N Anand reserved the order.

If news channels conduct investigation and also dictate orders on issues pending before the courts, what is the High Court meant for? the bench asked. Justice Anand, referring to IAS officers supporting their former colleague Shamim Banu who is remanded in judicial custody for allegedly clearing a lease in the illegal mining case, said such acts cannot be tolerated.

Drawing a parallel to actor Sanjay Dutt’s case, the bench observed that the entire film industry came out in support of the actor, but nobody went with him to jail. Vishwanathan, who was then principal secretary, Commerce and Industry, allegedly conspired with DMS to encroach the lease area belonging to National Mineral Development Corporation.

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