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[Belagavi stripping incident] Karnataka HC slams state govt, says "Modern world is of Dusshasana"

By Rintu Mariam      14 December, 2023 03:13 PM      0 Comments

BENGALURU: Slamming the Karnataka state government, the Karnataka High Court took suo motu cognizance of an incident in Belagavi where a woman was beaten up, paraded naked after her son eloped with a girl. Lamenting the state of affairs in modern times, the Court said, “The modern world is of Dusshasana, no Krishna came to help her.”

The Court went on to register a suo-motu case based on a news report about the incident titled “Woman beaten up, paraded naked after son elopes with girl”.
 
“The caption and contents of the aforesaid news articles not only shocks our conscience but makes us to put our head down with anguish and pain in our hearts…….. The Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka, is directed to initiate suo-motu proceedings and take appropriate steps”, Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice M.G.S. Kamal stated, while registering the case. 

The reports were highlighting an incident wherein a woman was assaulted and tied to a pole after her son eloped with a girl at Vantamuri village in Karnataka’s Belagavi district. 

The Court noted that the country is celebrating the 76th year of Independence as ‘Azadi ka Amruthotsav’. Furthermore, Karnataka which is known as a progressive state and a pioneer state of initiation of ‘social justice’ since all the way back when it used to be a Princely State of Mysore, faces this incident. 

The Court noted that one of the regional language newspapers even carried a photograph along with the news article. The photograph revealed that Minister Lakshmi Hebbalkar visited the victim and consoled her. 

Though the print media has at least displayed some sensibility and sensitivity while publishing the photograph by blurring the image of the victim and her associates, electronic media/its representatives are photographing and video graphing the victim's reaction and narration, the Court pointed out.

“Thus, on one hand, where there is a reflection of sensibility, on the other hand there is stark contrast wherein the media persons are seeming to be acting most irresponsible and insensitive manner”. 

Taking this into account, the Court proceeded to pass two interim directions: 
• If any media house or its representatives has video graphed the above interview of the victim during the visit of the Minister or any such interaction by the victim, they should not to telecast it. 
• If already such interview is displayed or telecasted in the electronic media, there shouldn’t be any display or telecast of the same.

However, the Court clarified that these interim directions were passed to protect the dignity of the victim and “is not even remotely prohibiting the media from covering the news” as the High Court maintains and accepts the concept of freedom of press.

Even the Advocate General who was present in Court assured that he would take appropriate steps immediately to ensure that there’s no undue, uncalled and unwanted coverage of the incident in electronic media. The Court directed him to submit a status report by December 14.



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