Citing the material placed on record, the Mumbai High Court on Monday declared that certain broadcasts are done by Republic TV and Times Now we're unduly critical of and "contemptuous" towards the police investigation in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput's death.
"Any reportage has to be in accordance with the norms of journalistic standards and ethics, else media houses stand to face contempt action," the bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice GS Kulkarni said.
Instead of punitive action, the court opted to set down guidelines for such reporting in the future. The court also observed that trial by media ran counter to the programme code under the Cable TV Act and that the media should observe dignity and restraint surrounding ongoing criminal investigations so that they would not influence potential witnesses or the public.
Significantly, the court also asked that the media refrain from painting anyone who committed suicide as 'weak' of character.
The High Court also heard a batch of PIL's filed in the same issue including one filed by eight IPS officers alleging unfair treatment of the Mumbai Police by the media.
Earlier, a High Court bench had strongly questioned Republic TV's coverage of the alleged suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, asking whether the media can be judge, jury and executioner in such a case.
"When a case is under investigation and the issue is whether it's a homicide or a suicide and a channel is saying it is murder, is that investigative journalism?"