The 2006 killing of Tulsiram Prajapati in Gujarat made headlines once more on Wednesday after the chief investigation officer (CIO) of the case told a Mumbai CBI court that BJP chief Amit Shah and three IPS officers were the main conspirators in the alleged fake encounter.
Kataria, Pandian, Dinesh and Vanzara were also discharged by the trial court between 2014 and 2017.
Media shut out and let back in
On 29 November, 2017, as the CBI began its examination of eyewitnesses, a defence advocate moved an application seeking to ban the media from reporting the case. The court passed an order the same day, restraining the media from reporting the case "till further orders".
However, on 24 January, 2018 the Bombay High Court quashed and set aside the trial court's order prohibiting journalists from reporting on or publishing the proceedings of the trial. Justice Revati Mohite-Dere minced no words in holding that the special CBI court overreached its powers in issuing the order.
"The rights of the press are intrinsic with the constitutional right that guarantees freedom of expression. In reporting from an open trial, the press not only makes use of its own right, but serves the larger purpose of making such information available to the general public," she said.
Such an order could be issued only in rare cases and for a limited period of time, Mohite-Dere said, adding that mere apprehension of sensationalism by the accused was not a sufficient ground for such a gag order.
With inputs from PTI