Being A Journalist Does Not Give You Permission To Practise Law On Your Own

Being A Journalist Does Not Give You Permission To Practise Law On Your Own

The Supreme Court stated orally that journalists and reporters are not authorized to take the law into their own hands. The Court made this remark while hearing a petition from a journalist who had been denied anticipatory parole by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The journalist was investigating a scheme involving the illegal sale and acquisition of infants. However, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against him, alleging that he had sought illicit remuneration to suppress the news. The journalist asserted that he is an accredited correspondent and exposed a swindle involving the illegal sale of a newborn child in the Dainik Bhaskar on July 26, 2021. One of the defendants in the case filed a complaint against him and others as retaliation.

The Supreme Court had previously granted the petitioner and other journalists temporary arrest protection. However, on Wednesday, a division bench composed of Justices A S Bopanna and M M Sundresh ruled that the petitioner was no longer eligible for interim protection. The Court also noted that the petitioners were embroiled in additional proceedings.

At the outset, we note, this Court, while directing notice to the respondents on 28.11.2022, had granted interim protection against the arrest of the petitioners herein. At this stage, we have the benefit of the counter statement filed on behalf of the State. Though at this stage we will not go into the nature of allegations, the petitioners are also involved in other cases, we see no reason to continue the interim protection granted by this Court. Further, as per the learned counsel for the State, the investigation against the petitioners has been completed. That being the position, whether there is a need to take the petitioners into custody is a matter to be considered by the investigating officer.” the Court dictated in its order.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s attorney argued, “As per the allegations, the ransom made was for 50 lakh rupees, and the amount paid for was only 50,000. That is the unbelievable statement made by the complainant in the FIR. 

Nothing is believable or unbelievable these days. “Judge Bopanna observed a paler vein.

The petitioners appealed to the Supreme Court against the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s decision to deny anticipatory parole.

The Objector had opposed the claim of the journalists and other applicants before the High Court because they were not discharging their pious obligation as journalists but rather operating a blackmailing ring to gain an unfair advantage.

In its ruling, the Madhya Pradesh High Court stated:

“…it is evident that allegations which have been made against the applicant are not pertaining to the discharge of duties of the applicant as a journalist or an accredited reporter for a newspaper. If any oblique act is performed under the garb/shadow of a professed profession that cannot be given protection.

Case Title: Sadaqat Pathan V. State of Madhya Pradesh and connected matters, SLP(Crl) No.

8885/2022

 

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