Contempt proceedings against channels on crime serials adjourned

BANGALORE: A division bench of the Karnataka HC comprising of justices A M Farooq and B S Patil adjourned contempt proceedings against Sun Network's Kannada channel Udaya TV and ETV for telecasting crime based serials to March 14.

On January 12, bailable warrants were issued against the channels based on a petition filed by Bangalore advocate A. V. Amarnathan.

The programmes referred in the petition were Udaya's Crime Story, produced and directed by Balakrishna Kakatkar and ETV's Crime Diary produced and directed by Ravi Belegere.

As reported by over the last two months, the state government had sought direction from the HC to ban the two serials since they were effecting fair trials of criminal cases, infringe upon the rights of citizens and adversely effect public interest, based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Amaranthan. The government had also sought a blanket direction to the media not to carry stories in violation of the criminal justice system

The Karnataka High Court (HC) had permitted the advocate general to file contempt proceedings against two Kannada crime serials following Government counsel arguments that the opinions expressed in the serials about the innocence or guilt of the accused in any manner were pre-judicial to the interest of the justice delivery system, as it amounted to holding a parallel trial. Continued telecast of the serials could constitute contempt of court.

The serials were accused of presenting facts even before filing of an FIR, such as recorded views of police officers, interviewing criminals, victims and/or their next of kin, hence resulting in a trial by media, prejudicing and interfering with the judicial proceedings.

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