NCB drugs probe | Rakul Preet Singh seeks directive to media; HC issues notice to govt

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Union government, the Press Council of India (PCI) and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on actor Rakul Preet Singh’s plea seeking to bar media from running any news linking her with the drug case being probed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

Justice Navin Chawla also directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the PCI and the NBA to also indicate in their respective status reports on the steps taken in pursuant to the court’s September 17 order to treat the actor’s representation to stop media reports from connecting her with the actor Rhea Chakraborty drug case.

During the hearing, the NBA said it would take up Ms. Singh’s representation on October 3.

Additional Solcitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Ministry, said Ms. Singh was not an accused. “She is just being asked to join the investigation. It is a sensitive matter”, he stated. The investigation was at a crucial stage, he added.

The court said that merely because the probe in the drug case was sensitive or ‘at a crucial stage’, the Ministry cannot say it would not look into the allegation of false reporting. “You have the power under the Cable TV Act. She [Ms. Singh] is saying that there are reports that are wrong. She may be completely wrong, but you can't simply say that this is a sensitive case”, the judge remarked.

The court posted the case for further hearing on October 15.

In her application, the 29-year-old actor alleged the media of “simply running fake news”, which were not based on “true, correct and verified facts”. She said the media’s slander campaign against her had “irreparably damaged her reputation, dignity and clean image, and flagrantly violated her privacy and right to be left alone”.

Rhea’s claim

Advocate Aman Hingorani, appearing for Ms. Singh, claimed that she “does not take drugs at all, is a teetotaller and non-smoker, and is into fitness, yoga and meditation”.

After she left the NCB office, following summons to assist in the investigation, the media continued their slander campaign of attributing statements to her during investigation which she never made to the NCB, Mr. Hingorani said.

“The media reported that the Petitioner (Ms Singh) has supposedly confessed to the NCB that ‘Rhea Chakraborty would get drugs sent to her house’ or that ‘Rhea wanted to take back her drugs back’. The Petitioner denies that she made any such statement”, her application before the court stated.

On her main petition seeking to restrain news channels from airing contents, which are “defamatory” or “suggestive innuendos” against her, of the drugs case, the court, on September 17, issued notices to the Centre, the PCI, Prasar Bharat and the NBA.

It had said, “It is hoped that media houses and TV channels would show restraint and abide by the Program Code and other guidelines while making report in connection with Rakul Preet Singh”.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 2:10:39 PM |

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