Karnataka HC Prohibits Media From Publishing Details Involving Privacy Of Individuals In Matrimonial Proceedings.

“What is an information to others according to a journalist, could be a personal and sensitive information to an individual in a litigation relating to a matrimonial dispute.” Cautioning the media against violating privacy of parties involved in marital dispute, the Karnataka High court has observed that the publication or telecast of information involving the marital relationships of the parties to litigation is prohibited under law. Justice B. Veerappa said that the media attention should be towards exposing corruption, nepotism, law breaking etc. rather than intruding into the personal life of individuals.

The court was considering a petition filed by a lady seeking to restrain a channel from telecasting the information provided by her husband in respect of her personal life with him. Allowing the petition, the court directed them not to telecast any information pertaining to her life, since the matter is before the Family Court. Referring to Section 22 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the bench observed that it applies to every proceeding under the Act. The court added that the Right of privacy in matrimonial matters between the parties in litigation under Marriage Act is personal to the litigating parties. It said:

As the freedom of the press is for the dissemination of information of public interest and public affairs, those which are not related to the above, but involving the marital relationships of the parties to a litigation should not be published or telecast, as it is prohibited under law. Publication of the proceedings meant to be in cameral will affect the constitutional liberty guaranteed to the individual and it would be an invasion of his/her right of privacy.

“The expression “any matter in relation to any such proceeding” should be given the widest import and it has to be given full effect to, when it is read in conjunction with the words “every proceeding” occurring in the beginning of the section. Considering the scope of the Act, i.e., Hindu Marriage Act, which governs marriage between the Hindus, relief of divorce and Judicial separation, alimony, temporary or permanent, the lis being purely inter-se, reading of the Section in its entirety in its context, reflect the intention of the legislation, primarily sought to be achieved. The language employed in Section is plain and unambiguous and it covers every proceeding under the Act.” The court also advised media to focus more on matters of public interest rather than invading into the privacy of individuals.

The court said: “Media attention should be towards exposing corruption, nepotism, law breaking, abuse or arbitrary exercise of power, law and order, economy, health, science and technology etc., which are matters of public interest. The “Lakshman Rekha” or the “line of control”, should be that the publication of comments/information should not invade into the privacy of an individual, unless outweighed by bona fide and genuine public interest.

Right of information is a facet of freedom of speech and expression, enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. Right of Information has been recognised as a Fundamental Right and the Right of Press to furnish the information or facts or opinion should be only to foster public interest and not to encroach upon the privacy of an individual. The public at large has no fundamental or legal right to get any information or intrude into the personal life of the other individual. Statutes empower the authorities to examine the parties, under exceptional circumstances, contained therein.

When the public at large has no legal right to impinge upon the marital privacy, the press or any other media cannot claim a better right to publish in newspaper, magazine or any other form of media, in exercise of freedom of speech and expression.” Allowing the plea, the bench further added: “What is an information to others according to a journalist, could be a personal and sensitive information to an individual in a litigation relating to a matrimonial dispute. The boundary between freedom of press and privacy of individual is the “Lakshman Rekha” and if the media, crosses the line of boundary, the invasion starts.”


Tipu a monarch, not freedom fighter: Karnataka HC

karnataka-high-courtThe Karnataka High Court today questioned the state government’s logic behind celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, observing he wasn’t a freedom fighter but a monarch who fought to safeguard his interests.

“What is the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti? Tipu was not a freedom fighter, but a monarch who fought the opponents to safeguard his interests,” Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, presiding over the division bench, observed.

Justice R B Budhihal is the other member of the bench.

The observation was made by the Chief Justice during a hearing on a Public Interest Litigation filed by South Kodagu- based K P Manjunatha, challenging government’s move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.

Justice Mukherjee also questioned the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti amid fears of communal tension escalating in Kodagu district and other parts of the state.

He observed that last year’s celebrations had resulted in a law-and-order situation after protesters resorted to violence.

However, public counsel M R Naik defended the celebrations, saying Tipu was a great warrior who fought against the British.

Countering the submissions, Sajan Poovaiah, counsel for the petitioner, said Tipu was a tyrant ruler who killed people belonging to many communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis and Christians.

The hearing will resume tomorrow.

The Congress government’s decision to observe the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom has stirred a major controversy, with opinion sharply divided among intellectuals, academia and different communities and organisations.

Tipu Jayanti, slated to be celebrated across the state on November 10, is being observed since last year following a government decision, which had triggered a major row and caused violence in Kodagu district last November.

RSS had stated recently it opposed the celebration and would stage protests against it as the ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a “religious bigot and a violent sultan”.

BJP has also expressed its strong opposition to ‘Tipu Jayanti’.

K’taka govt moves SC against Jaya’s acquittal in DA case

K'taka govt moves SC against Jaya's acquittal in DA case
K’taka govt moves SC against Jaya’s acquittal in DA case

The Karnataka government today moved the Supreme Court challenging the state high court verdict acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.

The state government in its appeal, filed through advocate Joseph Aristotle, has sought setting aside of the Karnataka HC order and also pleaded that the disqualification of the AIADMK chief be restored.

It has also alleged that it did not get ample opportunity to put forth its case before the high court.

The Karnataka High Court had on May 11 acquitted the AIADMK leader in the case, saying that her conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law.

The special court had last year held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

Karnataka HC sets aside single judge order on BBMP polls

BBMP pollsIn a relief to Siddaramaiah government, the Karnataka high Court today set aside its single judge’s order to hold polls to the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanaraga Palike (BBMP) by May 30, an issue on which the ruling party and the Opposition are at loggerheads.

The court, however, asked the state government and the State Election Commission to hold polls within six months of dissolution of BBMP which was controlled by BJP until it was superseded recently.

“Since BBMP polls has been superseded, both the state government and the State Election Commission should hold BBMP elections within six months of the supercession,” the Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice Ram Mohan Reddy, said.

The elections should be held as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment, said the Bench which heard an appeal filed by the government against a single judge order.

The verdict has come as a relief to the Congress government which the opposition alleged was trying to buy time to hold BBMP elections by insisting on trifurcating the civic body.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP and JD-S have demanded that the bill, aimed at trifurcating BBMP, be referred to the select committee of the legislature in a move seen as an attempt to checkmate the government’s plan.

The bill has been passed by the Assembly at a specially- convened session but in the Opposition-dominated Legislative Council, it is facing stiff resistance from BJP and JD-S which have joined hands to put up a united fight.

BJP said its stand is that elections should be held as per schedule and they will appeal against the High Court order in the Supreme Court.

The apex court had earlier held that elections to municipal bodies cannot be delayed unless there is a compelling reason such as a natural calamity, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly R Ashoka said. “Now we will knock at the door of Supreme Court for justice.

Karnataka HC reserves orders for tomorrow in illegal mining case

The Karnataka High Court today reserved to tomorrow its orders on the anticipatory bail plea of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and his kin in the illegal mining case.

Justice Subhash B Adi after hearing arguments from both sides, reserved the orders to tomorrow