Synopsis: Rakul Preet has prayed until the NCB completes the investigation for a direction to gag media from publishing and broadcasting any news about her in relation to the drug case.
Today, the Delhi High Court sought reports from the Central Government, the News Broadcasters Association and other authorities on the status of actor Rakul Preet’s representation in unsubstantiated media reports concerning her in relation to the Narcotics Control Bureau investigation.
The order was passed by the single bench of Justice Navin Chawla while hearing an urgent appeal brought by Actress Rakul Preet Singh. Rakul Preet prayed for guidance to prevent the media from publishing and broadcasting any news about her in relation to the drug case before the investigation is concluded by the NCB and until the competent court files a relevant report/ document.
Advocate Aman Hingorani, appearing for Rakul Preet, argued that fake news was being circulated against his client, which damaged his right to integrity and credibility, the right to privacy, and the right to be left alone.
Hingorani argued that Rakul Preet was a teetotaller who did not take any drugs and did not name anyone before the NCB, contrary to media reports.
He also submitted that, despite the order of the Court, the authorities had not shown any urgency in deciding on her representation in the matter.
Based on the decision in Naveen Jindal v. Zee Media, Hingorani argued that an injunction should be issued in Rakul Preet ‘s favour in view of undue adverse publicity and interference with the administration of justice and fair trial.
However, the Court noticed that none of the channels claimed to be broadcasting false news were before it.
In response to the plea, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma submitted that while he was emphasized to Rakul Preet, who was not an accused, because the NCB inquiry concerned a sensitive matter, the Court had to take a balanced view.
On being asked by the Court if any measures had been taken by the Ministry under Rakul Preet ‘s representation, ASG Sharma claimed that the consideration process had begun.
Advocate Rahul Bhatia, counsel for the News Broadcasters Association, told the Court that the representation will be considered on October 3. Bhatia also claimed that its representatives were not any news channels and were therefore outside of its control.
By issuing a notice in the light of the urgent application, the Court ordered all respondents to file a status report on the measures they had taken in representing Rakul Preet. The report has to be sent prior to the next hearing date.
The Court ordered the Central Government, Prasar Bharti, Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association to decide expeditiously on the issues posed in the petition of Rakul Preet, including passing some provisional direction.
The matter will be heard next on the 15th of October.