New Delhi: The Supreme court on Monday said that the media cannot be stopped from reporting any court hearing, as the Election Commission of India has raised complaints about being "castigated without any evidence" on political rallies during the campaigns for state elections.
The top court observed that media reporting is a powerful tool and it should report fully what is happening in the court to bring in a sense of accountability in the judicial process.
"The media is powerful and communicating what happens in court. Not only our judgements, but raising of questions, answers and dialogues is a concern for citizens. Media not reporting observations is far-fetched," the Supreme Court told the Election Commission.
The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah was hearing the petition filed by the Election Commission of India against the oral remarks made by the Madras High Court on April 26 over holding polls amid surging covid-19 cases in the country.
The High Court had pronounced that the EC was "singularly responsible for the COVID second wave" and "should probably be booked for murder" for not stopping political rallies for elections held in Tamil Nadu and other states amid a Covid spike.
The petition says that those remarks "dented the institution" and asks stopped that the media be stopped from reporting observations.
"Without any opportunity (given) to the Election Commission or any reply being sought from officers responsible under the Disaster Management Act, we have been castigated," the election body argued today.
However, the Supreme Court observed that the discussion in the court are of public interest and thus media cannot be barred from reporting the contents of the court hearing.
"We cannot in today's time say that media will not report the contents of court hearing. Discussions taking place in the High Court have equal public interest as the final order of the court," it said.
"Something is observed in the larger public interest. The Election Commission should treat it as a bitter pill in the right way," the court added.