The Bombay High Court on Friday issued notices to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case. It sent the notices on a plea journalists filed against the trial court’s ban on reporting the proceedings in the case, PTI reported.
Justice Revati Mohite-Dere will hear the petitions again on January 23.
In December 2017, a group of nine journalists, including Scroll.in Editor Naresh Fernandes, moved the Bombay High Court against an order by the CBI court, which barred the media from reporting on the trial until further orders, based on a request by the team of defence lawyers.
The writ petition asked for the order to be quashed as it was “bad in law”, “illegal” and a “major road block” for them in discharging their duties. The Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists had filed a similar petition.
Justice Mohite-Dere clubbed the two petitions while issuing the notices on Friday, Live Law reported. When the court heard the petition, CBI lawyer Sandesh Patil said the agency has “no stand” on the matter. “We are neutral,” Patil said. “We leave it to the court to decide.”
On November 29, 2017, when the special CBI court in Mumbai passed the order against the media, the defence had argued that publishing details of the trial would affect the security of the prosecution lawyers, the accused and the defence team. It also claimed there had been instances of misreporting in the past, which had “prejudiced” both sides in previous cases.
The defence’s petition came soon after media reports raised doubts about the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, who was presiding over the case until he died in December 2014.