Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra chided media asking them to be “more responsible” while holding the hearing on a plea against defamation complaint filed by BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah against the news portal The Wire and its journalists.
The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, observed that the media should be more responsible and said it cannot write whatever it feels about anyone.
“I have told many times about Freedom of Speech and Expression. We are not going to gag the media. The question of gagging the media does not arise. But the press should be more responsible,” he said.
The chief justice, though, stressed that he was not commenting on the case before it. Giving an interim order, the bench on Thursday stayed trial court proceedings in the matter till April 12.
“How can anyone write whatever they feel about anyone. There are limits,” the chief justice observed, adding further “… they are writing sometimes which amounts to sheer contempt of court”.
The suit has been filed against the author of the article Rohini Singh, founding editors of the news portal Siddharth Varadarajan, Siddharth Bhatia and M K Venu, managing editor Monobina Gupta, public editor Pamela Philipose and the Foundation for Independent Journalism. The foundation publishes The Wire.
The Gujarat High Court had on January 8 rejected a petition filed by the news portal seeking quashing of a criminal defamation case filed against it by Jay Shah over an article related to his company.
The high court rejected the petition on the grounds that the article, “The Golden Touch of Jay Amit Shah”, is per say “defamatory” and the trial court should proceed with the case.
The Supreme Court has now asked Jay Shah and others, who have filed the complaint against the scribes, to respond within two weeks.
(With inputs from PTI)