Mumbai: The press exists for a reason and it has a purpose which is serves, the Bombay High Court recently said while hearing a bunch of petitions on financial irregularities committed by an agent on the National Stock Exchange. The observation, made by a single bench of Bombay HC presided over by Justice Gautam Patel last week, came after one of the parties submitted material in a sealed cover due to an “apprehension" that it may reach the press.
Refusing to take on record any material that was presented in a sealed cover, Justice Patel said," At least in my court, there will never be a question of anything being done in sealed cover. Anything that I can see, all parties before meare entitled to see. That is all there is to it." “This is the only method that I know of to ensure open and transparent decision-making," he said while directing the concerned party to make all submissions on an affidavit. Advocate Rohan Cama, the counsel for the above party, however, expressed apprehension and said the sealed cover contained some “sensitive information that might find a way to the press".
Justice Patel, however, dismissed advocate Cama’s apprehension. “The press exists for a reason. It has a purpose, one that it serves. I cannot and will not curtail the rights of the free press at the instance of this or that party," he said.
“I refuse to proceed on the basis that the press is always irresponsible. There will be no gag orders here," Justice Patel said. He directed advocate Cama to ensure his client produced the sealed cover material on an affidavit in a clean and legible manner, or “face the consequences".
The bunch of matters pertained to alleged illegal trading by a brokerage firm and some sub brokers that had resulted in loss of investor money. The HC will continue the hearing on October 5.
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