The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from all states and the union territories (UT) about the mechanism followed by their police to brief media in criminal cases during the probe and the trial.

A bench of justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde issued notices to them and sought their replies within four weeks.

The bench, which referred to its earlier order of August 23 in which it had orally raised few questions to be addressed by the Centre and the CBI, said it would also like to have answers from the state governments and the UT administrations on those issues.

The questions on which the states were asked to respond were whether their permission is required by police to speak on certain pending criminal cases, ones related to terrorism or in sensitive cases such as riots when the name of a community may not be disclosed.

The bench was concerned on the rank of official who could speak to media as it had observed “we see even head constables and sub-inspectors telling the Press about the progress of investigation?”

Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra submitted that though the Centre, CBI, NHRC and Uttar Pradesh Government are before the court, there was a need to issue notices to all state governments.

The News Broadcasting Association (NBA) formed for the self regulation of electronic media is also involved in the matter.

The NHRC said though it was preparing by collecting materials about the norms practiced in other countries, it can finally respond to the court only after the Centre and other parties supply documents to it.

The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2008 in the wake of media coverage of Aarushi and Hemraj double murder case in Noida in which dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are facing trial for the murder of their daughter and servant.

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