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Court places curbs on media reporting of allegations against former SC judge

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained the media from publishing and telecasting the contents of a law intern's complaint of sexual harassment against former Supreme Court judge Justice Swatanter Kumar.

Ordering deletion of alleged defamatory parts of the news items and the photograph of Justice Kumar within 24 hours, Justice Manmohan Singh, in his interim order, also asked the media not to carry photographs of Justice Kumar, who is also the National Green Tribunal Chairperson, in their future news reports.

“The defendants No. 1 to 5 (media houses and the law intern) are further restrained from telecasting and printing the photograph of the plaintiff (Justice Kumar),” the judge said while pronouncing the order in a packed court room.

The court also made it clear that its order will remain effective till February 24, the next date of hearing, and issued notices to the woman intern, two English news channels, and a leading English daily.

The court had earlier reserved its interim order on the plea of Justice Kumar seeking to restrain media from reporting, publishing or telecasting news relating to the law intern's complaint against the judge, saying only court proceedings can be reported “nothing more, nothing less”.

The plea had also sought a ban on repeat of the television programmes on the subject.

Justice Kumar has also demanded Rs 5 crore as damages from the law intern who made the allegation against him and three media groups that publicised her complaint.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the former judge, had said Justice Kumar has an “illustrious career spanning 43 years in the legal field as a lawyer and as a high court and the Supreme Court Judge and more over, his fundamental right of good name and reputation cannot be allowed to be blackened by the media.”

The petition has urged the court to “pass a decree for damages in favour of the plaintiff and against defendant no- 1 to 5 jointly and severally at least for an amount of Rs 5 crores only or for any higher amounts as this court may be pleased to determine...”.


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