Freedom of speech should be used with sense: HC on Kallakurichi case

“As per the psychologists, sensationalising the news of the death of the Kallakurichi schoolgirl and projecting the issue made the other four children travel the same path. Instead of projecting the incident in detail, they can give helpline numbers, which will be very much useful,” Justice N Sathish Kumar held.
Freedom of speech should be used with sense: HC on Kallakurichi case

CHENNAI: Observing that it is to be highlighted that media should show some sense of responsibility while publishing the news, especially with regard to children, the freedom of speech guaranteed under the Constitution of India, is to be used in the sense that it does not spread falsity amongst the citizens, rather, the social media should be conscious of their duty to its citizens.

“As per the psychologists, sensationalising the news of the death of the Kallakurichi schoolgirl and projecting the issue made the other four children travel the same path. Instead of projecting the incident in detail, they can give helpline numbers, which will be very much useful,” Justice N Sathish Kumar held.

He further said that taking only genuine news to the doorsteps of the citizens without weaving false stories from out of thin air and such of those media should be dealt with in accordance with law by the investigating agency.

“The Special Investigation Team (SIT) to take appropriate action, as per law, against the YouTube channels and persons conducting a parallel investigation in some social media and also block such YouTube channels which have been created for the purpose of propagating and spinning false theory,” the judge added.

The judge lauded the efforts made by the State government in the case saying that the State has left no stone unturned in the conduct of the investigation and all efforts have been taken to bring to light the happenings, which has led to the sad demise of the deceased.

Hassan Mohammed Jinnah, Public Prosecutor assisted by APP E Raj Thilak submitted a status report regarding the action taken by the School Education Department to protect the physical and mental well-being of the students. According to the status report, 17 psychological counseling centers have been formed in the State and 800 medical teams have been constituted to monitor the physical well-being of the students.

“Students are engaged in two periods (i.e 40 + 40 =80 minutes) in a week meant for club activities, two periods for art and culture-related activities, one period for a library, two periods for physical education and sports, and one period for moral instructions. All these activities are carried out within school hours. This enables students to relax from the academic monotony, ” the State submitted.

Recording the submissions, the judge held that the Court appreciates the efforts taken by the School Education Department in implementing various schemes for the welfare of the students throughout the State. “The same should be implemented in letter and spirit for the benefit of the students and there must be continuous monitoring by the concerned authorities, l” the judge noted.

The petitioner/parent sought all the copies of the expert report and status reports of the investigation conducted to be given to him. However, the judge held that such contention cannot be entertained and it is for the investigating officer to file an appropriate report before the concerned court.

The judge further expressed his dissatisfaction with a few advocates for giving interviews in a way disturbing the case proceedings.

“Some Advocates, who have no expertise in this field, are giving different opinions in the media comparing two post-mortem reports. This court is of the view that such persons who are not experts, being an advocate shall not conduct parallel trials or investigations in the media,” the judge noted.

The court directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to identify those advocates who conduct the parallel investigation on electronic and social media particularly with regard to the death of the school child, pending investigation, and take necessary disciplinary proceedings against those advocates.

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