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Constitutionality Or Unconstitutionality Of Media Trial

Dr.Bhimrao Babasaheb Ramji Ambedkar, the maker of the Indian constitution described that the justice is given in the courts let that be the Supreme court, High court or the District Court by the judges who live their life trying to provide justice to whosoever comes to them but now the things have changed, Dr.BR Ambedkar might have thought about the changes happening in the future but have had he given any thought about the trials on TV or per se mobile phones, broadcasted live by the News channels to the public.

The irony is that people do enjoy these and also trust these as well or watch it just as another source of entertainment. News channels are supposed to provide legit information to the public, they are supposed to be the bridge between the Government and the people but now the media channels have become more diverse. They are showing news to attain profit and in the process they lose their reliability and increase the belief of people in fake and untrustworthy news.

Why justice is Seek elsewhere? or is it just a matter of fact of increasing profits.

There is a term used what you see is the truth, what you don't see does not exist but the meaning is now different what is shown is truth, what isn't that does not exist.

The term Media Trial was coined recently in twentieth century but its roots go way back. In the case of Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle'1921, he was acquitted by the courts, and lost his reputation and job to the media, after it declared him guilty. In the famous case of O.J. Simpson, 1995, the media had deeply influenced or let say played with the minds of people and encouraged them to believe what they wanted.

Media Trials portrays the impact of television, newspaper and now internet coverages have influence on the minds of the viewers, infringing the reputation of the person and declaring the accused to be guilty before it all goes down to the court of law. The verdict which is given in the news corrupts the decision of the emotional viewers and the judges too, it subconsciously influences the justice system.

That is the reason why the rules should be made for media to control the information provided. Sometimes it is good to have some force to back on the right decision so that the political game is not played and no one except the court of law have the right to give the verdict to make an accused, an innocent or a guilty.

In the Priyadarshini Mattoo case (2006), the media trial influenced the judgement given to the law student who was brutally raped and murdered. In the most famous Jessica Lal case 2010, The media exulted over bringing the justice to Jessica lal and the court acquitted all accused of all charges.

The Bijal Joshi rape case (2003) and Nitish Katara murder if media haven't intervened then, the justice wouldn't have been given. It was because of their intervention that the accused were punished.

In Aarushi Talwar's Murder case, 2013, before the case was presented in the court the media gave its verdict on who is guilty which caused public hysteria and there was mass protest over the fact that victim's own parents were the cause of her death.

Rhea Chakraborty v. State of Bihar, 2020 (Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case) there are hundreds of theories given on what happened, how it happened, even the black magic was given a place in the media trial, it has played a crucial role and the accused has raised the issue of media trial.

Because of the excruciating impact of media trial, a fair trial is impossible to be achieved. There are certain grounds on which the media gives its attention to, like if the cases involve celebrity as an accused or a victim. and if the cases involve children or cases which are extremely ferocious or horrible are able to clear the eligibility criteria.

There are many provision in which strict actions can be taken on such an deed Contempt of Court Act, 1971, and the Article 129 and Article 215 of the constitution of India which talks about the power by which the supreme court or the high court can be held for contempt respectively , so a investigating journalist or the media can be held liable under these acts.

The Right to Fair and Just Trial is an ultimate right provided to any individual within the boundaries' of India under Article 14-Equality Before Law, Article, 19- Protection of Certain Rights Regarding Freedom of Speech, Article 20- Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences , Article 21- Protection of Life and Personal Liberty and Article 22- Protection Against Arrest and Detention in Certain Cases, of the Constitution of India.

The statement of the media clearly infringes upon the rights of the accused to have a fair trial as well as his right to have a good advocate. Advocates tend not to take cases where along with accused or the victim their reputations are at stakes. As the influencing power is with the media, the trials become harder to be fair in the courts.

There should be restriction or imposition of ban on media for media trial, when the case is in the trial in court of law. It will provide the fair and just points to the viewers which will tell about the honest perspective of both the accused and the victim. Some restriction should be provided keeping the balance of the free speech and free press these restrictions should not go beyond the ambit of the reasonability as mentioned in the constitution of India.

The best way to set an example will be punishing those who infringes the basic contempt of the courts. The press council of India has influence on the regulation on press to print bigoted content likewise regulations for such trials could be set for controlling anything that is happening in contradiction of law, and would come under the domain of contempt.

It is in the rational mind that the media is the one who fills the gap between the information and the people, it is the fourth pillar of democracy, but was it or will it ever be? It is the question that is going to be unanswered. Media trial have more negative impact than positive. It has helped in serving in few trials but then also is it the way justice should be given? No, it is not the way as it can be said that the media trial or the unpredictable influence that it holds is one of the reasons many cases are unsolved and unheard till date.

If the courts provide restriction on media, it should be reasonably given but if the government is going to provide any of the restriction then democracy will be lost. Media describes the viewpoint of the public who might not have a say in an issue, it is a watchdog of society but now it is turning into an evil whose main motto is character assassination. It is vital to note that the idea of democracy is unbiased play and transparency and by such an act of the media, the concept of democracy is on a pendulum.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Neha Garg

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