The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the government to constitute a committee on a plea that sought guidelines to regulate media reporting and disclosure of details about children in cases like that of baby Falak.
Falak, who is two years old, was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences here Jan 18 with severe head injuries and human bite marks all over her face.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw asked the Delhi government to set up a committee on media guidelines so that it could file a preliminary report by March 7.
The committee will comprise of the presiding officer of the Juvenile Justice Board, representatives of the central and Delhi governments, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the Press Council of India, media and NGOs.
The court issued notice to the central and Delhi governments after taking note of a letter filed by a lawyer who sought framing of guidelines to regulate media reporting in cases like Falak’s.
The letter pointed to the media rush to report on Falak and a 15-year-old minor who allegedly brought the baby to the hospital. The teen-aged girl, who initially claimed to be Falak’s mother, is now in a juvenile home.
“Media reporting has sensationalized the life of both the children in a way and to such an extent that these children will never be able to get away from the memories of this time,” the letter said.
Officials of the police, hospital, the child welfare department and the father of the minor have disclosed every available detail on the child to the media, not realising the consequences of this.
“India being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, is under obligation to ensure protection of law against any unlawful intervention into the privacy of a child or any attack on child’s honour,” said the lawyer.