LAW FIRM CANNOT REPORT ONGOING PROCEEDINGS IN ITS BLOG OR WEBSITE

On June 9th 2021, the Division Bench consisting of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh while adjudicating the petition filed by the Society for Tax Analysis and Research, directed that, a law firm “cannot, and ought not, run the website/blog, in respect of the proceedings, which are being prosecuted by it, as there is every likelihood of losing objectivity in the reportage of proceedings.”

A petition was filed, requesting the Court to direct the Central Government to extend various tax due dates. In the meantime, an article regarding the proceedings was published on the blog of ALA Legal Advocates & Solicitors, which is the law firm prosecuting in that case. The Solicitor General, N Venkataraman, highlighting the incorrect reporting in the blog, raised issue on the same.The Court concurred with the ASG and ordered that the law firm “cannot and ought not to” report the ongoing proceedings being prosecuted by it, since there exists every possibility of dearth of objectivity in reporting. Adv. Puneet Aggarwal, who was appearing on behalf of the petitioners submitted to Hon’ble Bench that the blog would be removed and offered to tender an unconditional apology to the Court and ASG Mr. Venkatraman.

He further submitted that the concerned order dated May 25, will be uploaded on the aforementioned website/blog, wherein the Court had directed the Petitioners to submit the suggestions of the parties to the GST Council and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).It was held by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court that the details of a case cannot be reported by the law firm on their website/blog. The reasoning provided by the Hon’ble Bench was that “any slant in such reporting may lead to multifarious problems which may affect the proceedings and the respective counsels.”

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