The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to some media houses in a petition filed by businessman Vijay Nair. He had filed a petition against the CBI over the alleged leakage of information to media in his case.
Justice Gurang Kant issued notices to some media houses and directed them to file a reply. These media houses were impleaded by the court earlier.
The bench also directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file a status report. The counsel for the agency submitted that the ED is not required to file a reply.
The bench also asked the counsel for the petitioner Vijay Nair if he still wishes to pursue the petition as he has already been protected by the order of the High Court passed on November 21, 2022.
The matter has been listed on October 11 for further hearing. During the hearing, advocate Nisha Bhambhani, counsel for Broadcaster and Digital Association (NBDSA), informed the court that as per the direction of the court, a report has been filed. She also submitted that only three media house parties to the matter are its members and they did not violate the code.
On November 21, the High Court directed news channels to adhere to the guidelines governing them and to ensure that all broadcasts carried while reporting liquor scam case are based on official press releases by the investigation agencies.
The bench had also issued notice to 5 channels impleaded by Vijay Nair. He alleged that the sensitive information related to the case is being leaked to the media.
While hearing the petition moved by businessman Vijay Nair, the bench of Justice Yashwant Varma passed the above directions.
The bench also perused the status report and heard the submissions made by the counsel for the CBI and ED. The counsel for CBI had submitted that the agency issued 3 press releases. The press releases do not contain what has been broadcast.
ED's counsel said that they did not issue any press releases. Justice Verma asked the counsels, Where from they are getting the information? The counsel replied that the channels only answer this.
Advocate Nisha Bhambhani, the counsel for News Broadcaster and Digital Standard Authority (NBDSA) submitted that some of the channels are not their partners. We are not monitoring what they broadcast.
"If self-regulation is a mere eyewash, then why should we not disband you?," Justice Varma had asked the counsel for NBDSA while expressing displeasure over the reporting made by news channels.
The bench asked the counsel about certain channels and whether they are members or not. Where from they are getting the information related to disclosure made to CBI?
You call them and ask them. The counsel for NBDSA said that I can communicate and ask them to remove the content.
The counsel had submitted that some of the channels are members of the News NBDA. I won't be able to tell where from they are getting the information.
After noting the submission the bench directed to Implead NBDA and examine what has been broadcasted.
The court had also said the broadcast in the instant matter was not according to the press releases issued and in accordance with the guidelines and directives. This constrained the petitioner to approach this court.
This is not a case where atleast at this stage it can be said that the information was collectively leaked or provided by the investigating agencies," the bench said.
"....What the news channels publish has to be in line with the disclosures made by CBI, ED...it could be something which is reflected from order, where are they getting from?" It asked.
Meanwhile, the court directs NBDSA to examine whether the channel complied with the guidelines
Businessman Vijay Nair had approached the Delhi High Court alleging that the sensitive information related to his case is being leaked to the media by the CBI and ED and it is prejudicing his right as an accused.
Nair is an accused and in the custody of ED. He has been granted bail in the CBI case. (ANI)