‘Can’t take chargesheet and affix on wall’: Delhi HC to Aaj Tak on Shraddha Walkar coverage

Aaj Tak was seeking permission to broadcast materials related to the case.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Delhi High Court today questioned Aaj Tak on its plea to be permitted to broadcast materials related to the Shraddha Walkar murder case. This is over a month after a Delhi court restrained the news channel from telecasting sensitive information on the case.

According to Bar and Bench, Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar said, “There are more heinous cases than this...There are 20 murders all over India daily. What is so special about this case?”

Walkar’s live-in partner, Aaftab Poonawalla, is accused of murdering her last May. He was arrested in November and his trial will begin in June.

In April 2023, a Delhi court heard a plea by the Delhi police that sought to restrain Aaj Tak and other news channels from telecasting materials related to the murder.

The court agreed, saying the broadcast of sensitive information can have “psychological repercussions” on the accused and the victim’s family. It also said a chargesheet isn’t a “public document” to be made available for “public consumption”. The news channels were then restrained from telecasting materials like Aaftab’s narco-analysis and psychological assessments.

Aaj Tak’s parent company, TV Today, then applied to the high court seeking a vacation of this order. But, as per Bar and Bench, the high court said today, “You can’t take the chargesheet in a case and affix them on the walls. Some line needs to be drawn about how much these public documents can be displayed on TV.”

When Aaj Tak’s counsel said the injunction order violated their fundamental rights, the court said, “This is your fundamental right? To display the matter under sub-judice on TV? How many criminal cases pending before courts are being displayed on TV?”

The matter will be next heard in August.

Newslaundry had previously reported on how media coverage of the case was plagued by misogyny, bigotry and victim-blaming. Read all about it here.

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