Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Legislative Material: Primary & Secondary

Article 143(4), Constitution of India, 1950

This Article provides that judgments of the Supreme Court of India shall be delivered only in open court.

Section 153B, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and Section 327, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

These provisions state that proceedings of civil and criminal courts, respectively, shall normally be carried out in an open court to which the public shall have access, with exceptions in cases of trials for sexual offences (where and in other cases where the presiding judge deems fit.

Section 228A, Indian Penal Code, 1860

This section bars the publication of the identifiable details of a victim of sexual assault, and makes any such publication in respect of a pending trial, without the express permission of the Court, a punishable offence.

Section 44, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

This section, ostensibly for the purpose of protecting witnesses, permits the court to hold proceedings in camera and take any other measures for keeping the identity and address of the witness secret, including passing an order that “all or any of the proceedings pending before such a court shall not be published in any manner”. It also makes violation of such measures or orders a criminal offence.

Parliamentary Debates on the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 (December 1983)

Revised Norms for Accreditation of The Legal Correspondents In The Supreme Court Of India (January 2007)

These norms were issued by the Supreme Court of India in 2007, and set out the conditions to be satisfied for journalists to be accredited by the Court to cover its proceedings.

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Press Council of India, Norms of Journalistic Conduct, Rule 12 (2010)

The Norms can be found on the Press Council of India website.

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News Broadcasters Association, Specific Guidelines for Reporting Court Proceedings (September 2010)

The Guidelines can be accessed from the official website of the News Broadcasters Association. 

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Law Commission of India, 84th Report on Rape and Allied Offences, Chapter 5 (1980) [Open Access]

The report discusses the reform of laws relating to rape and other sexual offences. It covers, inter alia, the rights of victims and recommends steps to protect their privacy, in particular in-camera trials and a ban on publishing identifiable details. This Report led to the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 which, inter alia, introduced sections 327(2) and (3) of the Cr.P.C. and section 228A of the IPC.

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People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rape, Society and State, p. 9 (1980) [Open Access]

This is a monograph discussing the problems of sexual violence against women and proposed legislative and social solutions. It critiques the Law Commission’s proposal for in-camera trials, suggesting that this will act as a gag on media reporting of rape and will harm the rights of victims of sexual violence instead of helping them.

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Law Commission of India, 200th Report on Trial by Media (August 2006) [Open Access]

The Report can be accessed from the official website of the Law Commission of India. 

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