HC seeks govt.’s response on plea against ‘leak’ of information on probe

Police should have guidelines to keep secrecy in the matter of investigation, says plea

The High Court of Karnataka has asked the State government to respond to a plea to not “leak” information collected during the course of investigation in any case to the press, the public or the media and take action against officers responsible in cases of “leak” of information.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order on a PIL petition filed H. Naghabhushan Rao, a retired officer of Grameena Bank and president of the All Karnataka Grameena Bank Employees’ Federation.

Pointing out various instances of reports telecast in Kannada new television channels disclosing details of cases under investigation, the petitioner has contended that it is necessary to ensure absolute secrecy about investigation to maintain its sanctity and adjudication of justice.

“The case diary is confidential and available on direction by the court only for its perusal. Even the accused has no right to see the case diary. Definitely this is not material which can be discussed on prime time TV programmes,” the petitioner claimed while pointing out that in majority of the cases, the media will be reporting the stage of the investigation, the evidence collected, and sometimes even the electronic evidence are leaked to media houses.

It is necessary to have guidelines to the police to keep secrecy in the matter of investigation, it was argued on behalf of the petitioner.

Obscenity in news

The petitioner has also alleged that nowadays contents such as blurred sex video tapes, and obscene photographs along with graphics are shown while telecasting news reports on television channels without any censor and this amounts to airing of ‘A’ rated movies in the form of news.

Repeated telecast of such obscene videos/photographs in the guise of dissemination of news/information cannot be watched along with children, and telecast of such contents as part of news adversely impacts public health and morality, the petitioner has claimed while seeking directions to the Centre and State governments to frame appropriate guidelines/rules to prevent TV channels from telecasting obscene contents as part of news reports.

“Under the Cinematography Act such contents are censored by the censor board. But in the case of the electronic media, which has far-reaching viewership, there is no such mechanism to control the contents,” it has been contended in the petition.

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