Monday, Feb 26, 2018 | Last Update : 03:02 AM IST

Court denies media gag order in Pachauri case

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Feb 15, 2018, 2:36 am IST
Updated : Feb 15, 2018, 2:37 am IST

He had filed the petition for injunction alleging defamation and sought damages worth Rs 1 crore.

R.K. Pachauri
 R.K. Pachauri

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has refused to restrain the media from reporting the alleged sexual harassment case against R.K. Pachauri, former Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri).

It said the earlier ‘interim orders’ asking the media to report the high-profile case in a particular manner, as “uncalled for” and hence, stood “vacated”.

Asking the media to play a balanced role and shun sensationalism, the court asserted that any gag order would “trample” the right of the public to know the developments in the case.

“The injunction, as sought for, falls foul to the said explicit proposition of the law. Such restraints as sought for, not only amount to enforcing a gag order upon the media but at the same time prevents the right of the public to be kept updated about the developments, their right to know is infracted or trampled upon,” The Additional District Judge added. “In the event if such views or comments are not given by them, then a statement as to the fact that an effort was made to ascertain their views should also be made in the news, articles or programmes, as the case may be,” it added.

The court directed the media houses to mention in their reports “the matter is still sub-judice or is still pending in the court or a final decision in the case is still awaited”.

The court also noted that while reporting sexual harassment matters, the media has to play a very balanced role, as such news reports have wide repercussions, affect the dignity and infract into the privacy of individuals, besides having a bearing on the functioning and reputations of the institutions involved.

“It won’t be any misnomer or palpably wrong to say that it has the potential to make or mar a person’s reputation and career. Thus, with such a wide encompassing power, a corresponding duty also lies upon the media to report such a matter in a neutral, impartial and objective manner.

After registration of an FIR against him by a colleague in 2015, and with more women raising allegations in the months that followed, a civil suit was filed by him against some media houses in 2016. He had filed the petition for injunction alleging defamation and sought damages worth Rs 1 crore.

Tags: r.k. pachauri, the energy and resources institute