HC prevents media from publishing or televising the proceedings of the Pollachi sex abuse case trial

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Following CBI’s Complaint Against Nakheeran Publications, Judge Laments Media’s Denial of Court’s Expectations

Following CBI’s Complaint Against Nakheeran Publications, Judge Laments Media’s Denial of Court’s Expectations

The Madras High Court banned print and electronic media from publishing or televising any material relating to the testimony of victims or other witnesses in the Pollachi sexual abuse case in 2019. It also banned media from publish photographs or videos of victims or witnesses, even in blurred or metamorphosed forms.

Judge M. Dhandapani ordered that the media also not publish marked documentary or digital evidence during the ongoing trial in the sexual abuse case. “Essentially, the print and electronic media are barred from publishing any oral or documentary material related to the trial of the case,” the judge said.

He also warned that any breach by the media, in relation to the blocking order passed by the court, would result in severe action being taken against the media house concerned and ordered the registry of the High Court to mark a copy of its order to the Press Council of India for distribution to all print and broadcast media in the country.

The orders came on a sub-request filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaining that Tamil magazine Nakheeran allegedly published photographs of sexual abuse victims and their testimonies. The investigative agency feared that such publication would affect the trial as well as the safety of the victims.

The sub-application was withdrawn in a bail application, preferred by eighth defendant K. Arulanantham, which Judge Dhandapani had dismissed on August 11, 2021 and issued a bevy of instructions regarding how the case must be dealt with given the enormity of the offense involving many women.

One of these instructions was to conduct closed proceedings whenever the trial court deemed it necessary to protect witnesses and the other was to initiate departmental action against a police commissioner who disclosed the names of the victims. as well as the accused. in the case to the media.

Then the court did not issue any restraining order against the media as they had rested their faith and believed that they would conduct themselves properly knowing their duty. The court also hoped that the media would understand the turmoil the victims and their family members would have gone through as a result of the offense committed against them.

“However, this court has been brought to understand that their impressions are mere hallucinations and that the print and electronic media are not lethal to understanding the implications of the act they are committing…and that they are simply guided by the ratings and the monetary considerations that arise from the news they bring to the palms of citizens,” the judge lamented.

He suo motu implicated Nakheeran Publications and its editor Nakheeran Gopal as respondents to the sub-petition filed by CBI and demanded an explanation from them by September 15.

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