Parallel process of trial by media hampers investigations and secrecy of the probe says Justice P D Kode.
Retired judge Pramod Dattaram Kode expressed his concern about how media influences the trial by becoming judge and passes the verdicts in their own interpretations. Media trials do tend to influence judiciary and common people. Subconsciously a pressure is created and it does have an effect on the sentencing of the accused/convict.
Speaking about media trials and its interference in terror cases Justice Kode said, “We have to be careful. Maybe in this case it didn’t have a consequence but there’ll be other cases in the future. Can a parallel process of trial by media be permitted when it can trample upon fundamental rights of an accused and interfere with free and fair decision-making?”
“Can a parallel process of trial by media be allowed when a trial is already going on in the court? It affects the entire trial process and rights of an accused. Media briefings by investigating officer during on-going investigations should not happen”, he added.
Advocate Ketan Shah of High Court told AV, “The Guidelines should be issued for all and media should not be allowed. If media still wants to do it, then they should be held accountable by way of damages.”
Senior Advocate Rohini Salian said, “To some extend he is right according to me because media should be restricted in the initial stage when the accused is arrested. They should not jump into the conclusion because it will not affect the accused but also the prosecution process. Giving too much of information is unjustified.”
Earlier even Supreme Court was set about to consider framing guidelines for media over covering criminal cases and briefing by investigating agencies. Concerned over trial by media, which is often supplied with crucial facts on evidence by investigating agencies and prosecuting officers, it is a very serious matter…especially the media briefing by police and other investigating agencies. Nothing should be done to hamper investigations and secrecy of the probe. It requires certain checks since they all touch upon Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution disapproving.
Justice Kode better known for his historic verdict in the March 12, 1993 serial bomb blasts case of Mumbai in 2006-2007 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (Tada) where he held 100 accused guilty of causing the 11 coordinated blasts that killed 257 people and left more than 700 maimed and injured for life.
Tarun Surati a fitness trainer said, “If the judiciary cannot decide cases for decades, when there is no provision for compensation to innocent accused hounded by law, when false accusers and prosecutors are never punished, when courts do not command trust of people– what is left is mob trial only– played by TRP greedy media.”
AV reader Nayan Shetty said, “Trials are a matter of public knowledge. We need to know what’s going on if for no other reason so we can monitor whether or not people are being treated fairly.”
Kode is one of the longest surviving judges in a single court, hearing the proceeding for over ten years. He started his career as a defence lawyer after graduating from the Government Law College in Mumbai. He became prosecutor in 1987 and later judge in civil and sessions court. He was promoted principal judge in 1993 and became the special TADA judge from March 1996.