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While protecting the rights of an accused to a free and fair trial not prejudiced by media reporting, the Supreme Court should not cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of reasonable restrictions provided in the constitution, a senior counsel contended Wednesday.

An apex court constitution bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice D.K. Jain, Justice S.S. Nijjar, Justice R.P. Desai and Justice J.S. Khehar was told by senior counsel Anil Divan that the restriction on free speech and expression could only be reasonable and confined to those specified under Article 19(2).

“This is a Lakshman Rekha. You can’t go beyond Article 19(2) to protect the (right guaranteed under) Article 21. This would amount to undoing the 60 years of jurisprudence done by the Supreme Court,” said Divan, who appeared for The Hindu newspaper.

The court was hearing an application by the Sahara India Real Estate Corp voicing its grievance over a news channel reporting its proposal made to the Securities and Exchange Board of India on securing the money it mopped up from the market.

The court earlier said that it would frame guidelines for reporting on sub-judice matters.



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