New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday sought assistance of the Press Council of India in framing guidelines for the media for reporting sensitive criminal cases which are at investigation and trial stage.
A bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah issued a notice to the Council and asked it to file its response by 28 October.
The court passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO ‘Act Now For Harmony and Democracy’ seeking action against the police officials for allegedly leaking to the media confessional statements made before them by suspected terrorists in the case relating to Batla House encounter here in which two terrorists and a Delhi Police inspector were killed on 19 September last year.
The petitioner pleaded that the police officials should be held guilty for contempt of court for leaking any information during investigation and trial of the accused.
“The principle should also be applicable to formal press releases and press conferences addressed by police officers as it is for the court to decide whether an individual is innocent or guilty and not the police,” advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the NGO said.
“Any statement to the media, other than reports to the court, made by a police officer regarding the guilt or innocence of any person or their involvement in a crime, in the course of investigation, by the police would amount to misconduct,” he said while placing his suggestion for the guidelines before the court.