It has been more than two and half months now of SSR's death and from then
till now, the media has been vigorously covering the day to day developments in
the case in all its facets. Not even a single day has passed when the media has
not come up with another sensationalised story in relation to SSR's
Rhea Chakraborty who has been primarily alleged to have abetted SSR's
suicide has been horrifically targeted by the media and netizens. While some
people have called her a murderer, some have tagged her as drug mafia
and some people have even gone to the extent of calling her a witch who
has performed black magic on Sushant and drove him to suicide. And why
should they not? After all, our Constitution, the Constitution of one of the
largest democracy in the world, in itself gives its people the right to
freedom of speech and expression.
But let us not forget, the same very Constitution which gives its people the
right to exercise this freedom of speech and expression, also provides for an
equally powerful Constitutional Right- Right of the accused to be presumed
innocent unless proven guilty and Right to Privacy. But it seems to me that
the Right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 has somewhat
overshadowed the Right to life and personal liberty of the accused provided
under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
I still remember one of our initial classes on Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
where we were being taught The Jurisprudential Essence of CrPC.
Reiterating a para from the class notes which reads - Criminal Procedural Code
has been enacted to do the balancing of interest between the conflicting
individual interest where the accused is deemed to be presumed innocent unless
proven guilty and the societal interest at large which requires the culprit to
be punished for the crime that he has committed. But what we fail to understand
is that this societal interest also lies in the fact that the individual
interest of the accused should be protected.
Investigations are still going on. There has not yet been a single piece of
evidence to prove that it was the accused who is to be blamed for SSR's death
but the media has already declared her guilty. Media has been conducting
parallel investigations into the case, needless to say, that it has taken upon
itself the responsibility of an investigative agency to dig out the real truth.
Not only has the media investigated and tried the case but has also pronounced
its judgment- a judgment devoid of logic and backed by zero evidence. Well, if
it is the responsibility of the media to investigate and try the case, what are
the Police and Judges for?
Rhea Chakrovarty's private life has been laid bare in public. Media has come
down to a dirty level and all for the sake of TRP. Let me remind you that it is
the same media that had tried to spread nationwide hatred against people of
Tablighi Jamaat by calling them as terrorists who had come specifically
to spread the Covid-19 virus in India. Very recently, the Bombay High Court in
its strong-worded judgment quashed the FIR against Tablighi Jamaat foreigners
and held that they were made scapegoats by the government while
criticizing the media propaganda. The same media had once relentlessly labelled
Saravjit Singh, a Delhi resident as an eve teaser and pervert
after allegations were levelled against him by Jasleen Kaur, a DU student who
later failed to prove the charges. The Talwar parents who are now acquitted by
the Allahabad High Court in Arushi Talwar double murder case were mercilessly
implicated by the media based on their concocted and fictitious stories.
Rhea Chakraborty has been ridiculously subjected to trolls, abuses and mean
comments from past few weeks which doesn't seem to end. This makes me question if
she's really an accused or a victim? Honestly, to me, she is not an accused
anymore but a victim- a victim of a vague and ruthless Media Trial. What if she
comes out to be innocent at the end? Can she be sufficiently compensated for all
the mental and physical harassment she had been made to go through all this
while? The answer is clear NO.
I firmly believe that such filthy media trials cannot and should not be allowed.
Such a rush to reach the judgment makes a fair trial hard to achieve. Media is
considered to be the fourth pillar of democracy. The importance of media in
shaping public opinion cannot be ruled out. The media would be completely
justified to call for punishment for the perpetrator of a heinous crime but it
cannot be allowed to step in the shoes of the judiciary and assume its
functions. Moreover, we also must act and behave like well informed and
responsible citizens of society and form our opinion likewise.