KOCHI: The contempt of court provisions are used to uphold the majesty of courts and not to terrorise the media, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said here on Saturday.
Inaugurating a workshop on reporting of court proceedings and administration of justice for legal correspondents and journalists, he said no one would implement court orders if these provisions were absent.
The National Legal Services Authority; the Kerala State Legal Services Authority; the Indian Law Institute; the Press Council of India; and the Editors’ Guild of India organised the workshop.
Mr. Balakrishnan called upon the media to exercise caution while reporting cases of rape and such others in which the names of victims should be undisclosed. While reporting, care should be taken not to affect a fair trial. The media should use discretion while reporting court proceedings and need not publish all the comments of judges.
On sensationalism, Mr. Balakrishnan said some element of it should be there in reporting because, otherwise, news reports would read like gazette notifications. But reporting should be done with a sense of social responsibility and caution.
Reacting to a discussion in a session, Mr. Balakrishnan ruled out political interferences in the appointment of judges.
Trial by media
In his keynote address, G.N. Ray, Chairman of the Press Council, said India’s media scene had witnessed a shift in functioning with the emergence of the electronic media. The media doing pre-investigation of cases before authorities such as the police started their investigation caused concern. Mr. Ray stressed the need to focus on unbiased reporting.
Arijit Pasayat, Supreme Court judge and Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, presided. H.L. Dattu, Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, welcomed the gathering.
S.R. Sakthidharan, Chairman, Kerala Press Academy, made the introductory address. C.P. Sudhakara Prasad, Advocate-General, gave a special address. J.B. Koshy, Kerala High Court judge and Executive Chairman of the Kerala State legal Services Authority, proposed a vote of thanks.