"Ram Believed in the Rule of Law and not in the Rule of Diktats by Men." Kapil Sibal
Mr Sibal brings to light—communication and technology mediums have the potential of use and misuse, but the contours of that use must be clearly defined and demarcated and a ‘lakshman rekha’ needs to be drawn.
Congress Party leader and a renowned lawyer, Kapil Sibal, spoke highly of his senior colleague in Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani on how the ram did not advocate the media trial. Sibal spoke in length the debate topic “Pros and Cons of Media Trial”. He said, “to bring it in the context, of constitutionally protected freedoms, Ram believed in the rule of law and not in the rule of dictats by men this is a subject that was very close to his heart.” He quoted the legendary lawyer on the subject, saying, “Oblate media act as a court passes judgment even before the court pronounces its verdict, trial by media is nothing but breach of law it amounts to contempt of the court.” He said Mahatma Gandhi called the press the fourth estate that misuses its power. Sibal said trial by mainstream media’s influence is both constructive and destructive and when it comes to the social media, the destructive voices of demolition squads blare both the truth, and false. He said these communication and technology mediums have its potential of use and misuse, but the contours of that use must be clearly defined and demarcated and a ‘lakshman rekha’ needs to be drawn.
He said no society is bereft of crime and criminals and it is the rich and the powerful who often perpetrate crimes whether they are in government or outside. So, the job of media is to unearth executive excesses and corruption and criminal activity protected by the state apart and the media is an indispensable tool to ensure detection of crime, to expose protection of criminals by the rich and powerful and unearth facts and bring it in the public domain bring them in the public domain and build pressure that investigation is commenced and further expose attempts by agencies to protect the accused.
Sibal said that the media should have a free hand but limited to discovery only. “Media opinions are a matter relating to assimilation of facts leading to prima facie inferences and later conclusions and the media has done human service to society. In cases such as like the Ruchika Gerotra case in several when a 14 year old girl was molested ultimately she committed suicide because of the trauma of systematic harassment. It was the role of the media that led to the conviction after 19 years. Similarly, media trial was useful in the Jessica Lal, Priyadarshani Matoo, Nitish Kataria cases where the media brought fresh evidence which ultimately led to conviction of the accused.
Sibal continued saying that the problem arises when the media looks upon these discovery of facts
as a way of earning TRPs to gain more audience they bother less about credibility of source they instead try to sensationalize the event even if it takes distortion of facts. Media verdicts are overshadowed by court decisions and with the entry of social media platforms the situation has nose dived further. He said today the media has reincarnated itself into a public court the where the rule of presumption of innocence and guilt beyond reasonable doubt has been thrown to the wayside. The new media presumes guilt and the victim must prove his or her inner innocence, the standard of reasonable doubt is substituted by the presumption of guilt without any benchmark standards.
Sibal cited that in 2G case, the sensationalism by media led to the decline of the sector itself then what's then the dispensation of the report within the CAG.