The Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arjit Banerjee of Calcutta HC made note cautioning the media against “irresponsible reporting” on the Court’s orders, pointing out that the orders are accessible on the High Court’s site online for verified reporting. The instant remark was made by the court while hearing alleged inadequacies in the State’s health infrastructure and insufficient COVID-19 testing in West Bengal.
The Court observed, “Let it also be taken note of that the orders issued by the High Court are being uploaded in the official website. This means that a true version of any order can be generated from the website of the Calcutta High Court.”
The Bench remarked,
“We are sure that responsible journalism includes the need to exclude irresponsible reporting by anyone involved in the print or audio visual media. Obviously, therefore, we expect those in need of information about the contents of this Court’s orders, to access the High Court website and dissuade themselves from propagating or publicizing the orders to champion the cause of anybody concerned.”
Advocate General Kishore Dutta after taking up the case, again questioned the locus of a petitioner in moving the PIL, asserting that the “writ petition is essentially a Publicity Oriented Litigation.” The Court clarified that it is not looking into the alleged motives of the petitioner, given that there are larger issues raised which require serious consideration.
The court observed that,
“this matter will be carried forward as one which is not adversarial in nature.” The Court also directed the State to file a further affidavit on the availability and utilization of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing facilities in terms of ICMR guidelines in West Bengal.
The Court also added before posting the matter to be heard on April 30
“…this matter is to be proceeded with ultimately in the interest of the larger public in the collective sense and for a citizen in the individual sense and not intended to be made a platform for publicity either way.”
Read the Order here: