TV debates do not decide pending cases: Supreme Court

Any discussion on TV regarding criminal cases is direct interference in administration of criminal justice: Bench

April 20, 2022 09:15 pm | Updated 10:54 pm IST - NEW DELHI

 Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

Criminal cases pending in courts are not decided on TV debates, the Supreme Court held in a judgment on Wednesday.

Any discussion on TV regarding criminal cases in court would amount to “direct interference in administration of criminal justice”, a Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit observed.

“All matters relating to a crime and whether a particular thing happens to be a conclusive piece of evidence must be dealt with by a court of law and not through a TV channel,” the Supreme Court underscored its disapproval.

The apex court’s judgment is a significant check on mercurial television debates on private channels where participants trade opinions on the guilt or innocence of the accused, discuss intimate details of victims and even claim to possess “conclusive” pieces of evidence in cases sub judice before courts of law.

“The public platform is not a place for such debate or proof of what otherwise is the exclusive domain and function of courts of law. Any such debate or discussion touching upon matters which are in the domain of courts would amount to direct interference in administration of criminal justice,” Justice Lalit, who authored the verdict, wrote.

The judgment came in a robbery case. The statements made by the accused to the police and recorded in a DVD was aired by a private channel, Udaya TV, in a programme ‘Putta Mutta’.

“Allowing the DVD to go into the hands of a private TV channel so that it could be played and published in a programme is nothing but dereliction of duty and direct interference in the administration of justice,” the Supreme Court held.

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