The Allahabad High Court while rejecting the bail plea of a reporter accused of abetting a suicide said a journalist is not expected to dramatise sensational incidents and create news by putting a person's life in danger.
Journalist Shamim Ahmad is of abetting a mentally and financially distressed man to commit suicide, and filming it outside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly complex on October 20 last year.
In an order, a Lucknow bench of Justice Vikas Kunvar Srivastav said, "A journalist is not expected to dramatise a sensational and horrifying incident and make news by putting his actor in pitiable condition and in danger of death."
The journalist keeps an eye on anticipated or sudden events happening in society and brings them to the information of all people through various news media without any tampering. This is his business, the judge observed on June 21.
Rejecting the bail plea, the bench observed, “The case of the prosecution against the accused Shamim is prima- facie established that he told the deceased, living in mental and financial distress, to the temptation and plan to get rid of them. He was present with the deceased at the scene of the incident and filming it."
The order in the case was uploaded on the court's website on Thursday.
According to additional government advocate Prem Prakash, the man, Surendra Chakraborty, of the old city area had a tenancy dispute with his landlord Zaved Khan for which he had filed a civil suit.On October 19 last year, Khan scoldingly asked the man to set himself ablaze and die, if he was not able to vacate the accommodation.
“Subsequently, journalists Shamim Ahmad and Naushad Ahmad contacted the man and induced him to set himself ablaze in front of the assembly building so that they may film the incident and telecast the same on television. If it happens, the matter will get highlighted and no one will evict him from his house,” Chakraborty’s wife had said in her police complaint on the basis of which the FIR in the case was registered.
She lodged the complaint with the Hussainganj police on October 20 last year.
The bench has directed the trial court to expedite trial proceedings to possibly conclude it within a year.
It, however, told the trial court that it need not be swayed with any observation made by this court in the instant bail rejection order.
Opposing the bail plea, Prakash, on the basis of material collected during investigation, pleaded that according to the plan, the the victim reached in front of the Legislative Assembly building at Gate no.3 on October 20 last year, stood in the middle of the road, put oil on himself and set himself on fire.
Meanwhile, a man identified as journalist Shamim Ahmad was seen recording, from prior to the incident. Instead of saving the man, the journalist or accused kept on filming it till he was badly scorched, he said.
Policemen were also seen trying to rescue Chakraborty from burning in the confiscated film, added Prakash.
He died at a hospital on October 24.