The court also asked the authorities to treat her plea as a representation and take a decision on it before the next date of hearing on October 15.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre and Press Council of India to respond to a petition by actor Rakul Preet Singh seeking to restrain news channels from airing contents which are defamatory or “suggestive innuendos” against her in the Rhea Chakraborty’s narcotic drugs case.
Justice Navin Chawla also issued notices to Prasar Bharat and News Broadcasters Association, on Ms Singh’s plea seeking direction to the news channels to broadcast content strictly in adherence to the Programme and Advertising Codes as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1985.
“It is hoped that media houses and TV channels would show restraint and abide by the Program Code and other guidelines while making report in connection with Rakul Preet Singh,” the high court remarked.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma said that there cannot be a blanket ban or pre-censorship on airing of contents on news channel.
The ASG additionally said that Ms. Singh has not made any complaint against the news channels.
The High Court also asked the authorities to treat Ms. Singh’s petition as a representation and take a decision on it before the next date of hearing on October 15.
In her plea, Ms. Singh stated that she is a well-known Indian film actor and model who has worked in the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi film industry. “The Petitioner, who is a non-smoker and a teetotaler and into fitness, yoga and meditation, is known for her healthy life-style,” it said.
The actor said she was shooting for a film near Vikarabad in Telangana when she was stunned to see private TV channels running “breaking news” from the evening of September 11 of her along with actor Sara Ali Khan and designer Simone Khambatta, being named as the individuals who take drugs by Ms Chakraborty.
The actor categorically stated that she does not take drugs, and has, to the best of her recollection, has met Ms. Khan twice – once at IIFA Awards and once while working out in a gym – and has not met Ms. Khambatta at all.
She alleged certain news channels of “insidiously” flashing a morphed photograph of the her on a scooty with Ms. Khan and Ms. Khambatta so as “to insinuate and make a false and suggestive innuendo that the three of them hung out together”.
She also claimed certain news channels of “deliberately” flashing photographs of her in skimpy clothes so as to sensationalise and garner attention.
The petition stated that despite the fact that Ms. Chakraborty had already retracted her statement, the private TV channels have continued to run a slander campaign against her.
“This campaign not only maligns the reputation of the Petitioner (Ms. Singh) but contains defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths,” which, she said, has caused irreparable damage to her reputation, dignity, privacy and her commercial interests.