RECENT RULING OF BOMBAY HC ON REPRODUCTION OF ONGOING TRIAL

While hearing the matter on the issue of reporting the actual, which is impermissible, the High Court issued a notice to the Udaipur Times an Udaipur based newspaper, in matter of the Dawoodi Bohra Community trial related news. The Bombay High Court, while observing the case stated “As a general rule, reproductions of ongoing trials are not permitted and every journalist knowsthis or is expected to know this.”The matter was heard by the Bench of Justice Gautam Patel afteran interim Application was filed by the Defendant relating to theDawoodi Bohra Community alleging that due to the plaintiff’s action, it was possible for the newspaper to access court proceedings, which was later reported by it. In an interim application, the defendant raises a matter with a serious concernrelating to the very integrity of the trial in the suit.In the complaint the defendant said that even in an express direction, the plaintiff gave access to the trial records of the incomplete matter, circulated third party matter, which were quoted in a cross examination before the court, which was done through the online hearings and there was no permit given to the reporters. The comments included about the learned Senior Advocate, Mr Chagla who were present on behalf of the defendant and also some comments were on the Judge presiding over the trial. The Court observed that there is much to be answered by the Udaipur times.The court further added in the order, “The UdaipurTimes, primafacie, could not have beenunaware of these restrictions. If it obtained the transcripts from the Plaintiff or somebody onbehalf of the plaintiff, then that is indeed very serious. If one of its reports had joined the Courtproceedingsonlineandtookdownportionsofthecross-examinationverbatim,thenthatisnoless serious”.The court observed that there was need for the Udaipur Times to be more circumspect in the present matter as there were specific protocols because the matter has very deep interest and concernof the particular community. Further, the court stated that therehave been many caseswhere the newspaper reporters were in Court but so far, to its knowledge, not one has gone to such an extent.The court held that “the result is the same – an entirely impermissible reporting of the actual trailbeforeitiscomplete”.In deciding the matter, the court also emphasized that whetherthe newspaper was provided with the material or one of them was present at the time, does not change the results of such reporting which is not allowed per se for protecting the community’s interest.

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