Media Reports on Court Proceedings – UPSC GS2

Context: The Supreme Court denied to stop media from reporting the oral observations made by the judges during a case.
What was the case?
  • A petition was filed by the Election Commission of India(ECI) in the Supreme Court against the oral remarks made by Madras High Court.
  • The Madras High Court had said that the ECI was singularly responsible for COVID second wave. And ECI officers should probably be booked for murder.
  • The EC petitioned that these oral remarks would impact or lower the faith of the masses in the poll body and democratic process.
  • EC had also asked the SC to stop the media from reporting on oral observations of the court.
What did SC say?
On Madras High Court Observations:
  • The Supreme Court has asked the EC to take criticism of Madras HC constructively. Because discussions are in the public interest and faith in institutions is vital to democracy.
  • Further, the apex court also said that the High Courts were also a constitutional body. Thus, the SC will not demoralize the high court judges by issuing any kind of restraint on them.
On Media Reporting:
  • The Court observed that the media is the watchdog of the sanctity of the judicial process.
  • Hence, the media cannot be stopped from reporting oral remarks made by judges during a court hearing.
  • Further, an honest and full report of the comments in courts by the media gives the public insight. Thus, they can see whether judges are genuinely applying their minds to resolve their crises.

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