Observing it was an important tool of democracy, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to initiate any fresh contempt action against the media for extensively reporting on Aarushi Talwar murder case.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph, however, hoped the media would exercise certain restraint and self-regulation in reporting such incidents.

“We expect the media to exercise restraint and self-regulation. Punishing the media will not solve the problem. The media is an important tool of democracy. Let us see what kind of self-restraint they will observe.

“It is a matter that needs to be examined at length,” Justice Kabir speaking for the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while rejecting the plea of petitioner and advocate Surat Singh who sought initiation of contempt proceedings against “India Today” magazine for reporting minute details of the Aarushi murder case.

Mr. Singh submitted the magazine was reporting explicit details of the deceased despite the apex court’s earlier order on July 22, 2008, asking the media not to pre-judge the issue.

On May 16, 2008 Aarushi Talwar, daughter of a dentist couple, and the family’s domestic help Hemaraj were found murdered in the Talwars’ house in Jalvayu Vihar in Noida.

The apex court, while declining to entertain Mr. Singh’s plea, however, transferred to itself a similar writ petition filed in the Delhi High Court seeking certain guidelines for media in reporting pending criminal matters as they affect the rights of the victims and accused.

The bench posted both the petitions for final hearing to April 19.

Keywords: Aarushi case

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