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The media is a powerful watchdog in democracy, it cannot be stopped from reporting any court hearing, the Supreme Court informed the Election Commission (EC) on Monday.

The apex court observed that the EC's prayer to stop media from reporting oral observations is too far-fetched and can't be allowed.

"We cannot say that media will not report the discussion that takes place in Court. The discussion that takes place is in as much public interest as the final order of the Court. The discussion in Court is a dialogue between the bar and the bench. Media is a very powerful watchdog in protecting the sanctity of this process," a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said.

The SC also said, "We don't want to demoralise HCs as they are vital pillars of democracy."

The top court asked the EC to take Madras HC's observations in the right spirit.

The EC last week approached the top court against what it called "blatantly disparaging remarks" by the Madras HC over holding elections amid India's deadly second wave of Covid-19.

The SC bench today heard the poll panel's plea challenging the Madras HC's "murder charges" remark.

The Madras HC on 26 April had slammed the EC and said it "should probably be booked for murder" for allowing political rallies amid a deadly second wave of the pandemic.

"Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19. Election Commission officers should be booked on murder charges probably," the Madras HC said in its observations.

SC reserves order on EC's plea

The SC reserved its order on the EC's plea against Madras HC remarks holding its officials responsible for the spike in coronavirus cases and fastening them with murder charges.

A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah stated that it didn't want to "demoralise" the high courts as they are vital pillars of the democracy, and the various critical remarks, as alleged by the EC, are often said in an open dialogue between the bar and the bench.

The SC said it would pronounce its order "expeditiously" on the EC's plea against critical remarks such as fastening murder charges against its officials.

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