Media must have “some sense,” said Chief Justice of India NV Ramana during a hearing on the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in the Supreme Court referring to Times Now‘s incorrect tweet claiming the CJI met the victims’ families, Live Law reported.
During the hearing on Friday, a lawyer pointed out that a tweet posted by the news channel, which is not available anymore, had made false claims that the CJI met the families of the victims of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
“I am not on the issue of tweets… but they must have some sense. I am sitting in court. How can I go to Lucknow and visit with [the] family?” CJI Ramana said.
Media should verify facts, the Supreme Court bench, comprising CJI Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Koli, said. “It’s unfortunate for media. We’re sorry to observe someone is exceeding the freedom of speech. At least verify facts, this is all false representation being done,” Justice Kant further remarked.
Justice Kohli added, “We respect media and their independence, but this not a way to cross it; this is not fair!”
When senior advocate Harish Salve, who was appearing for the state of Uttar Pradesh, said, “This is so absurd that it deserves to be treated with contempt,” CJI Ramana asked him to “leave it there” and added, “We should not bother with these things. When you are in public life, we’ve to receive brickbats.”
Later, on Thursday, Times Now posted another tweet and wrote “Correction: #SamajwadiParty chief #AkhileshYadav meets kin of #LakhimpurKheri victims. Times Now inadvertently put out the news as CJI Ramana meets kin of victims. Times Now regrets the error.”
A follow up tweet further said, “Clarification: Due to an inadvertent error, the phrase ‘SP Chief’ went as ‘SC Chief’ on the broadcast at 15:29. Times Now wants to clarify that any reference to the Chief Justice of India is unintended. Times Now apologises for the inconvenience caused to the CJI, NV Ramana.”
“Times Now erroneously put out a tweet stating that the Honourable Chief Justice of India NV Ramana met the kin of Lakhimpur Kheri victim. The tweet is totally incorrect and hence deleted. Times Now sincerely apologises for the error committed,” another tweet added.
On October 3, severe violence broke out after the son of UP’s Union Minister of State Ajay Mishra ran his car over protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district and killed four. Post the violence, the death toll rose to nine, including a local journalist.