Delhi gangrape: Court upholds ban on reporting by media

Delhi gangrape

A Delhi court today upheld a magisterial court order for in-camera proceedings in the case of December 16 gangrape of 23-year-old girl and restraining media from reporting it.

District and Sessions Judge R K Gauba said there was nothing "illegal" or "improper" in the January 7 order of the magistrate.

"The Metropolitan Magistrate was not only within her rights, rather duty-bound to apply the provisions of section 327 (2) (conducting in-camera proceedings in cases of rape and related offences) of the CrPC to the proceedings of the case," the judge said.

"The fact that a large crowd had entered her court room leaving no space for even the undertrial prisoners to be brought in only added to the circumstances leading to passing of the order," the judge said.

On January 7, a magistrate had restrained the media from reporting and publishing the proceedings of the case in the court noting that the courtroom was jam-packed with members of the bar and general public who were unconnected with the case and not prepared to leave it due to which the accused could not be produced before her.

The sessions court said as per section 327(2) CrPC, it is mandatory for the presiding officer to hold the proceedings in-camera in cases of rape and related offences.

Noting that the arguments of the petitioner advocates that the case is still at the stage of committal and not trial, the judge observed, "Eventually the trial court would also be required to regulate proceedings in terms of section 327 of the CrPC."

During the arguments, Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan opposed the plea saying the relief sought in the petition is against the provisions of the CrPC and hence it is liable to be dismissed with cost.

The magistrate's order was challenged by advocates D K Mishra and Poonam Kaushik, seeking setting aside of the decision for in-camera hearing and had alleged that the court room was crowded because of the presence of large number of policemen.

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