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Courts cannot formulate guidelines for regulation of Media

The Hon’ble High Court of Kerala dismissed a PIL (Halvi .K.S. Vs. State of Kerala. WP (C) No. 16349 of 2020 (S) seeking a framework of guidelines for regulation of print and electronic media.The Hon’ble Court observed that it is not within the realm of the court to set a mechanism that verifies what is broadcasted and published. The hon’ble court refered to apex court’s ruling in Sahara India Real Estate Corporation V. SEBI, where the bench had refrained from executing any guideline for a prior curb to media reportage.

It was further observed by the Hon’ble Court that a straight jacket formula to curb reportage on prior basis cannot be set, however the court can exercise the same based on the facts of each and every case and that the judges should not decide a case entirely on the basis of media report.

It was observed by the Hon’ble Court that “analysing the principles of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, and the significant multifarious roles played by it, we are of the view that a constitutional court would not be able to comprehend various situations and form a guideline so as to restrict the media from enjoying its freedom conferred under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. Moreover, making a law is the absolute domain of the parliament and the State legislatures in terms of the provisions of the Constitution of India, and the framers of the constitution intended and envisioned a clear demarcation of exercise power by the Legislature, executive and the judiciary, which is also largely dependent on the successive policies formulated by the Government for its functioning.”

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