Setback for EC, Supreme Court rejects plea against Madras HC's scathing observations
The Apex Court bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said that the question of expunging the remarks made by Madras High Court recently against the Election Commission does not arise and that no restriction can be put on media from reporting Court proceedings.
In a setback for the Election Commission, the Supreme Court has disposed of the appeal by the poll body seeking a ban on media from reporting on oral observations of a court.
A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said that the question of expunging the remarks made by Madras High Court recently against the Election Commission does not arise and that no restriction can be put on media from reporting Court proceedings.
In his order, Justice Chandrachud said, "We find no substance in the prayer of Election Commission to restrain media from reporting court proceedings."
The Election Commission had moved the Supreme Court on Saturday, challenging the critical observations made by the Madras High Court holding it singularly responsible for the surge in Covid cases, saying the remarks were "uncalled for, blatant and disparaging".
The High Court had on April 26 slammed the Election Commission and even said that its officials should be booked under murder charges.
While asserting that it was essential to hold the judiciary accountable, Justice Chandrachud observed that a degree of caution and restraint on the part of the High Court would have allayed this proceeding.
"There is a need for judicial restraint for off-the-cuff remarks, which is open for misinterpretation. Judicial language is important for constitutional ethos. The power of judicial review is so high that it forms a basic structure," Justice DY Chandrachud observed.
Dismissing the EC's contention, the bench noted that the freedom of speech and expression covers the freedom to cover court proceedings as well.
During the course of the hearing, the Supreme Court had urged the Election Commission, being entrusted with the duty to ensure a free and fair election in the country, should not be rattled by the observations made.
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