Is trial by media prohibited?

Interference with administration of justice is neither a permissible freedom nor an unreasonable restriction. The Supreme Court in M.P. Lohia v. State of West Bengal took the view that sensational articles appearing in the media would certainly interfere with the administration of justice and deprecated such practice. Right to freedom of media has to be exercised responsibly and internal mechanism should be devised to prevent publications that would bring judiciary into disrepute. Proclivity to sensationalism is to be curbed in every case and it would be no answer to plead that publisher, editor or others concerned did not know of the contemptuous nature of publication or that it was done in haste.

While the media can, in the public interest, resort to reasonable criticism of a judicial act or a Court for public good or report any such statements, it should refrain from casting scurrilous aspersions on, or impute improper motives or personal bias to the judge. Nor they should scandalize the Court or the judiciary as a whole, or make personal allegations of lack of ability or integrity against a judge. The judgments of Courts are public documents and can be commented upon, analysed and criticized, but it has to be dignified manner without attributing motives.

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