Freedom of speech & expression: A study under the backdrop of 200th law commission report
Through my present research paper I am going to highlight the reason due to which law comission submitted its 200th report and why it precluded media from reporting anything prejudicial to the rights of the accused in criminal cases, from the time of arrest to investigation and trial.as the commission has said, “Today there is feeling that in view of the extensive use of the television and cable services, the whole pattern of publication of news has changed and several such publications are likely to have a prejudicial impact on the suspects, accused, witnesses and even judges and in general on the administration of justice“.
I am also going to high late the restriction given under Article 19(2) of Constitution of India and on what grounds such restriction shall be imposed by law.
200th law comission report has suggested an amendment to the Contempt of Courts Act. Under the present provision such publications would come within the definition of contempt only after the charge sheet is filed in a criminal case, whereas it should be invoked from the time of arrest. In another controversial recommendation, it has suggested that the high court be empowered to direct a print or electronic medium to postpone publication or telecast pertaining to a criminal case.
On November 3, 2006, former chief justice of India Y K Sabharwal expressed concern over the recent trend of the media conducting ‘trial’ of cases before courts pronounce judgments, and cautioned: “According to law an accused is presumed to be innocent till proved guilty in a court of law, and is entitled to a fair trial. So, it is legitimate to demand that nobody can be allowed to prejudge or prejudice one’s case? Why should judges be swayed by public opinion?