HC Seeks Response On PIL About Media Reporting Guidelines  

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir high court has asked government of India to prescribe guidelines for the Media Reporting of the violent mass agitation and police action for prevention and control thereof.

Court has sought response on a Public Interest Litigation. The apex court without passing “positive directions” has taken on record recommended by a committee on media, calling for avoiding generalisations and emphasizing the need for media responsibility by underling that such an approach would strike the correct balance between free speech and the independence of the media.

“Although the print media has been placed under the supervision of the Press Council, there is need for choosing effective measures of supervision – supervision not control,” the committee had said.

The panel also said that apart from the Press Council Act 1978, there was a need for newspapers and journals to set up their own independent mechanism.

The Committee had endorsed the need for the formation of principles of responsible broadcasting, institutional arrangements of self regulation. The Committee had emphasised the need not to drift from self regulation to some statutory structure which may prove to be oppressive and full of litigative potential.

The petition had also sought directions to the States and Union Territories to fill up the vacant posts in the Police and State Armed forces so that the police force does not remain overburdened. The plea had also sought directions to all the States and Union Territories to provide for periodic training and upgradation of police force and to fix the working hours for the police personnel. 

Court also asked government of India and state governments to file response on a Public Interest Litigation regarding the modernization, reformation and progression of the Police in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The petition registered suo-moto by the high court pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court on March 11, sought directions to the government of India to prescribe guidelines for the media reporting of the violent mass agitation and police action for its prevention and control.   

The Apex court had passed in a Writ Petition (Civil) No. 183 of 2013 titled Manish Kumar v. Union of India & Ors. 

“Since the matter pertains to the modernization, reformation and progression of the Police Force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, therefore, it shall be appropriate to make the following Authorities as party respondents to seek their response,” a division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Tashi Rabastan said and arrayed Union of India through Secretary to the Government, Ministry of Home Affairs and State of Jammu and Kashmir through its Chief Secretary as the respondents. 

The notice on behalf of arrayed respondents was waived T. M. Shamsi, ASGI, and B. A. Dar, Sr. AAG, respectively for Union of India and The Chief Secretary. “Response within six weeks,” the court added. 

The original petition before the apex court had sought directions to all the States and Union Territories to constitute Police Commission to deal with allegation of police action, redressal of grievances of police and to make recommendations for the welfare of police force. 

It had sought directions to the States to formulate and implement the guidelines for prevention and control of violent mass agitations and destruction of life and property, in terms of the guidelines suggested by Court in a separate petition. 

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