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December 13 beamed after court nod

Dec. 13: Zee News has telecast its film on the Parliament attack last year, December 13, this evening, after a nod from the Supreme Court.

The accused in the case — alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad militants Shaukat Hussain and Mohammad Afzal, a suspended college lecturer from the capital, S.A.R. Geelani, and Hussain’s wife Navjot Sandhu — had lodged a petition in Delhi High Court yesterday, saying the airing of the film would prejudice the trial. But the apex court said the showing of the film would not influence the court.

The high court order asked the channel to seek permission from the sessions court where the case is being heard.

A three-judge bench of Justice V.N. Khare, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Arun Kumar ordered a stay on the high court order.

The verdict by the sessions court is due on December 16. “Judges by their judicial training and the office they hold are not supposed to be influenced by the broadcast of such telefilms,” the bench said.

The court said that since the channel decided to air the telefilm on December 13, at a time when the judgment was expected to be pronounced on December 11, “there was no intention on the part of the channel to influence the minds of the judge”.

Lawyers for Zee News Harish Salve and Arun Jaitley pleaded that the high court order amounted to curtailing press freedom.

Counsels for the four accused Nitya Ramakrishnan and Prashant Bhushan said the right of the media would not be hampered if the telefilm was shown after the pronouncement of the order by the trial court.

The court asked the accused to file a reply and deferred further hearing in the matter.

December 13 is a reconstruction of the events that led to the attacks on Parliament, based on the chargesheet filed by the special police cell, Zee News said. It is part footage and part reenactment, using actors from the National School of Drama.

Saxena said the accused were also represented in the film.

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