The Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass any order on spiritual guru Asaram Bapu’s plea seeking to restrain media from speculative reporting in the rape allegation against him.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass any order on spiritual guru Asaram Bapu’s plea seeking to restrain media from speculative reporting in the rape allegation against him but reiterated its 2012 guidelines on reporting of cases before the courts.
Declining to pass any order, a bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “For present we are not going to say anything but reiterate the media guidelines. We hope media to follow that direction. If you still feel aggrieved then you can come (to us).”
As the court reiterated its direction to media, senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for Asaram, said: “In spite of your guidelines, media is not showing any caution.”
He said that he had “no difficulty in correct reporting by media” but was aggrieved with “mutilated” media reports.
In the absence of any corroboration by medical evidence on the rape allegation, counsel contended that media was reporting as if Asaram has actually committed the rape.
He referred to news reports to buttress his plea that media was going above board in its reporting on Asaram ever since the allegations surfaced.
“The petitioner (Asaram) has 400 ashrams spread all over the country, he is in public life since the 1970s and has more than seven crore followers,” the counsel told the court.
Some television channels were just showing clips on Asaram at the prime time just for the sake of garnering more TRPs, he alleged.
As Singh went all out against the “sensational” reporting by the media, Chief Justice Sathasivam asked: “If the victim’s father or her relatives go to media and talk about the incident or police officials after filing of the compliant speak to media, can we stop them?”
Asaram in his petition had contended that he had the right to “free and fair” trial under Article 21 of the constitution and there was a presumption of innocence till he was held guilty.
The petition said that the way he was being “demonised by media to general public”, it severely prejudiced his right to fair trial and violated his fundamental right under Article 21.