He sought to restrain media from carrying reports on murder of his daughter

The Supreme Court on Thursday listed for hearing on August 9 an application filed by Rajesh Talwar for a direction to restrain the electronic and print media from carrying reports on the murder of his daughter, Aarushi. He said this might have the effect of prejudicing the defence of the accused or damaging the reputation of any person connected with the case.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and A.K. Patnaik, while directing the matter to be listed for hearing, declined to pass a fresh restraint order on the media with reference to the case. Senior counsel Pinaki Mishra and Surat Singh, making a mention before the Bench, wanted a fresh interim direction from the court.

Counsel submitted that though on July 22, 2008, the court restrained the media from any irresponsible reporting, for the past two months there had been a slew of reports damaging the reputation of the parents and the deceased girl.

Acting on a petition from Mr. Surat Singh, the court passed an interim order in July 2008 asking the media to exercise caution while reporting on the Noida double murder case being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Aarushi and Dr. Talwar's domestic help were found murdered at their Noida house in May 2008. The culprits are yet to be identified.

In the present application, likely to come up for hearing next week, Dr. Talwar said that despite the order and the sentiments expressed by the court, both the print and electronic media were obdurately and disdainfully continuing with the speculative ‘whodunit' reporting.

Disregard for respect

Dr. Talwar said such irresponsible and uninformed conspiracy theories being floated by a section of the media with the sole purpose of satisfying the voyeuristic curiosity of its readership and viewership not only prejudiced the ongoing investigation in pending criminal proceedings but also betrayed a complete disregard for the respect and reputation of the persons/families connected with the case.

It said that in view of the potential implications, it was thus imperative that the media was restrained from reporting/exhibiting information which was likely to prejudice or had a bearing on a investigation and/or which would amount to breach of right to privacy of the applicant and his family.

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