SC quashes Allahabad high court's gag order on troop movements

The Supreme Court on Friday quashed an Allahabad High Court order, gagging the media from carrying reports relating to troop movements.

Taking up a petition by the Press Council of India, challenging an order of the Lucknow bench of the high court, the apex court said the judges had erred in passing an order banning the media from reporting on troop movements.

The council had pointed out that the high court could not impose such a ban on the media as it violated freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court judges said that the original petitioner in the high court had not sought a ban on media reporting on such movements, but only wanted an inquiry into the incident. They also referred to a recent constitution bench judgement, which said the media could only be asked to hold back a report for a given period (See: No blanket gag on reporting court cases: SC).

The central government had also agreed with the council and had sought a quashing of the Allahabad High Court order.

On April 10, the high court had directed the central government and various state governments to ensure that the print or electronic media did not carry any reports on the movement of troops.