The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to give urgent hearing to a PIL seeking lifting of the ban on telecast of a controversial documentary featuring an interview of one of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case.
A bench of justices B.D. Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said there is no so urgency in the matter and it will be heard on Wednesday (March 11).
“It will be listed on Wednesday. Nothing so important, that it needs to be heard today,” the court observed.
The court’s response came after two law students — Arun Menon and Kritika Padode —— in their public interest litigation (PIL) sought urgent hearing, saying the ban on the documentary is a clear violation of their fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
The duo approached the High Court after a trial court on March 4 had banned until further orders the broadcast of the interview of December 16, 2012 gangrape convict Mukesh Singh, which was allegedly conducted in July 2013 inside Tihar jail in New Delhi.
Earlier, a trial court had restrained the media from broadcasting or publishing the interview of Mukesh Singh after the Delhi police moved court for a restraining order against his interview.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has also issued an advisory to all television channels to not broadcast the documentary on the victim.
The government has also sought an explanation from Tihar jail authorities over how the convict was interviewed while being in judicial custody.
A similar petition was filed last week, by a law student, who has sought lifting of the ban on the ground that it is “nothing but a honest look at the mind and mindset of one of the convicted rapists of the young woman”.
Today’s plea, which was mentioned before the bench by advocate Naman Joshi also sought direction to the Bar Council of India to expedite action against the two lawyer — advocate A.P. Singh and M.L. Sharma — who had allegedly made derogatory anti-women remarks in the documentary.
The plea also said that a direction be issued to the Supreme Court registry to constitute a three judge special bench to hear the appeals of the four death row convicts, which is pending since August 25, 2014.
Initially the apex court in July had stayed the execution of the four convicts in the gang-rape and murder case.
The other petition, prepared by Vibhor Anand, had also said that “it is legally wrong to oppose the screening of the film after giving it legal approval and after the documentary-makers fulfilled all legal commitments.”
It claimed that the parents of the gangrape victim have also not objected to the telecast of the documentary.
It also said that as per social media the public at large wanted to see the documentary as within 24 hours of its being put up on YouTube, it was viewed by more 2.86 lakh people.
The victim, a physiotherapy student was raped and assaulted with an iron rod after she was tricked into boarding an unregistered private bus to go home after watching a movie with a male friend on December 16, 2012.
Her male companion was badly beaten up and could not come to her rescue when she was assaulted in the bus. The two were later dumped naked and bleeding on the roadside.
The woman was airlifted to a Singapore hospital for treatment where she died — 13 days after the assault — of the injuries inflicted upon her.
Mukesh, along with three others, was convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013 for the gangrape and murder of the 23-year-old victim.