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Smooch photo in media not in good taste: SC

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 17, 2004 19:31 IST
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A recent photograph published in newspapers and displayed on TV channels showing two Bollywood actors in an intimate pose was not in good taste, the Supreme Court observed on Friday.

A Bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice D M Dharmadhikari made the observation while dealing with an issue relating to the media's right to freedom of expression and its limits.

The issue came up while the Bench was admitting a petition by N Ravi, Editor of the daily newspaper, The Hindu, challenging the validity of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the Section, the media is liable for reporting incidents pertaining to important persons in public life.

Appearing for the editor, senior advocates Harish Salve and Aparajita Singh contended that the provisions of the Section could pose a grave threat to the media's right to freedom of expression. That is because important personalities could initiate defamation proceedings even if the media reported true incidents, they argued.

Salve said the media, in public interest and public good, had to report the activities of famous personalities.

He suggested that the aggrieved party could first prima facie show to the court how their reputation was tarnished due to media reports before filing defamation suits.

However, the Bench, pointing to the controversy generated by the photograph, said, "That cannot be in public good. In the name of public good, the media might go on doing whatever it intended to do."

Salve said the court should take up the matter and help strike a balance between public interest and defamation.

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