Apex court cautions media in reporting Aarushi murder case


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the media to be cautious in covering the murder probe of teenager Aarushi Talwar and her family’s domestic help Hemraj to ensure that the reputation of the suspects in the case is not tarnished.

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A bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice Markandey Katju asked the media to observe caution during a hearing on a public interest lawsuit that has questionede the media coverage of the high-profile murder case. In the probe, the character of the victim’s parents was questioned, especially of Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar who was arrested as the main accused.

After urging media to be cautious while covering the ongoing probe and the subsequent trial, the bench adjourned the hearing to Aug 18.

“It will be listed before the Chief Justice (K.G. Balakrishnan) on Aug 18. In the meantime, we tell print and electronic media to observe caution while reporting the case in question and not to prejudice the reputation of those involved in the case,” the bench ruled in an interim order.

The lawsuit was filed by Delhi-based advocate Surat Singh, who not only questioned the media coverage of the case, but also objected to the Noida police providing half-baked stories and findings to the media.

Singh opened his argument on the lawsuit citing a personal experience regarding the coverage od Aarushi’s murder probe.

“After watching television reports showing that Aarushi was killed by her father, my own 13-year-old daughter has begun asking me if I too would kill her if she falls in love with somebody,” said Singh.

In his petition, Singh has also made various government agencies, including the information and broadcasting ministry, law ministry, home ministry and Noida Police parties to the case, seeking their version on ways to ensure that the media acts responsibly in covering such cases.

The lawyer has also made various media houses party to the case.

Aarushi was found murdered in her parents’ upscale Jalvayu Vihar apartment in Noida May 16. The Noida police immediately named Hemraj as the prime suspect but retracted the next day when his body was found on the roof of the apartment.

The police arrested Aarushi’s father Rajesh Talwar May 23, saying he killed his daughter in a fit of rage because he objected to her closeness with domestic help Hemraj. Talwar was released July 11 after 50 days of imprisonment, with the CBI saying there was no evidence to link him to the crime.

The CBI took over the case June 1 after a public hue and cry over the shoddy manner in which the Noida police had conducted the investigations.