EC says it is ‘unanimous’ there shouldn’t be plea in SC for curbs on media reporting over oral observations made by judges

The Election Commission had approached the top court with a Special Leave Petition against oral observations made by the Madras HC, where it said the EC was 'singularly responsible' for the second wave of COVID-19 and remarked that its officers should probably be 'booked for murder'

Press Trust of India May 05, 2021 18:31:53 IST
EC says it is ‘unanimous’ there shouldn’t be plea in SC for curbs on media reporting over oral observations made by judges

Representational Image. PTI

New Delhi: The Election Commission Wednesday said it was unanimous that there should not be any prayer before the Supreme Court for restriction on media reporting over oral observations made by judges.

The commission was responding to a news report that the poll panel's plea in the Madras High Court to gag the media from reporting oral observations of judges and its subsequent Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the high court's "murder charges" remark was not unanimously approved by the poll panel.

A senior functionary said the EC had moved the top court against the oral observations made by the Madras High Court.

He said based on the oral observations, which were not part of the written order, people could seek action against EC officials.

The functionary pointed out that a case was filed against senior EC officials in West Bengal following the observations made by the high court.

When asked whether there was unanimity in the Commission when it asked the Madras High Court to restrain media from reporting oral observations by the bench, another functionary referred to a portion of the press statement which said that "The Commission always has appropriate deliberations before any decisions are taken."

This indicates a difference of opinion on the issue.

"The Election Commission of India has taken note of recent narrative relating to its position in relation to media. The Commission has also come across certain press reports in the same regard. The Commission always has appropriate deliberations before any decisions are taken," the poll panel said in a statement.

It said the Election Commission was unanimous that before the Supreme Court there should not be any prayer for restriction on media reporting.

In the context of involvement of media, the Commission wishes to clarify that it stands sincerely committed to its faith in free media. The Commission as a whole and each one of its members recognise the positive role played by media in the conduct of all elections in the past and present and in strengthening electoral democracy in the country, the statement said.

"The Commission especially recognises media's role in enhancing the effectiveness of election management and in reinforcing transparency from the very beginning of election process till the end, including transparent coverage during all processes, campaigning and from polling station level to counting," it said.

The EC''s approach on the collaboration with media is that of a natural ally and remains unchanged, the poll watchdog said.

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