Timeline of Gag Orders
Gag orders essentially restrict media or any person from releasing any information or comment being passed on to public. These orders are not limited to the Government alone, the judiciary is also infamous for passing this. The media or such persons are prevented from reporting news or publishing information on grounds like threat to the national security or privacy of individuals.They are passed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure i.e.for the protection of human health, safety or not to disturb public tranquility. A lot of times, there is no time limit prescribed for such orders. They are lifted at the whims of the Government or judiciary. Recently, the Supreme Court put a gag order on journalists, preventing them from reporting on a case filed by the Andhra Pradesh anti-corruption bureau against high profile personalities . This infringes upon the right of the media to report on cases, and also the right of information of the public. This time line lists out gag orders passed by the Government and the courts. In case we have missed listing an instance of a gag order, please use the report link.
Details of the case : ReporterTV had been airing programmes which were portraying the plaintiff in a bad light and subjecting him to media trial. It was also accused that there have been multiple orders restricting the channel from reporting on the plaintiff yet they continue to telecast material which is derogatory.
Name of the court/Organization : Kerala HC
Details of the case : Actor Chetan Kumar had made a post in 2020 criticising a court order, which he reposted recently. It was done in the context of the bench constituted to decide the validity of Hijab Ban. Subsequent to which he was arrested by the police for the offence of promoting enmity or hatred between classes.
Name of the court/Organization : Magistrate, Bengaluru
Details of the case : Kerala Actor, Dileep, obtained a temporary injuction from a Bengaluru Sessions Court banning 10 media outlets from publishing anything “defamatory” or “derogatory” against him on sexual harassment allegations. The gag order was lifted by the Karnataka High Court in April 2019.
Name of the court/Organization : Bengaluru Sessions Court
Details of the case : An ad interim, ex parte injunction was passed to take down all posts on news media outlets about allegations of molestation by Soumya Dasgupta, lawyer and son of BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta.
Name of the court/Organization : Patiala House Court
Details of the case : The order was issued to initiate proceedings against any individual or organisation making “objectionable, inappropriate or misleading” comments on social media against the state government, ministers or government officials
Name of the court/Organization : Bihar state government
Details of the case : Six BJP ministers in Karnataka were granted a temporary gag order over 68 media outlets. It was given over their apprehension expressed after a BJP colleague quit, days after TV channels played a video of him in an alleged sex-for-job scandal.
Name of the court/Organization : Bangalore 26th Civil and Sessions Court
Details of the case : A circular was issued to Directors and heads of all educational institutions, preventing teachers from openly criticizing the government on news media outlets and social media, after a flurry of dissenting opinions were published.
Name of the court/Organization : Himanchal Pradesh Higher Education Department
Details of the case : The new amendment to the Central Services (Pensions) Rules,1972 stated that Retired officials from intelligence or security-related organizations were banned from penning memoirs of any kind. They face a partial or complete withdrawal of pension for non-compliance.
Name of the court/Organization : Central Government
Details of the case : The court issued a gag order to ban news media from falsely covering any allegations regarding Sadananda Gowda, former CM and current Union Minister in Karnataka. The court termed the coverage as “false, baseless and reckless news items.”
Name of the court/Organization : Bengaluru City Civil Court
Details of the case : The High court granted bail to a person accused of making objectionable remarks against the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other public representatives on the condition that he will not use social media for a period of two years or till the conclusion of the trial before the Trial Court whichever is earier.
Name of the court/Organization : Allahabad High Court
Details of the case : The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice to the I&B Ministry, News Broadcasters Association(NBA) and Press Council of India (PCI) on the petition filed by Bollywood actress Rakul Preet Singh seeking to put a stop on the media trial going on against her in connection with the drug probe in Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
Name of the court/Organization : Delhi High Court
Details of the case : The petitoner had argued that after filing of this petition and recusal from the case by the Hon. Judge of this Court, registration of offence immediately projected over the social media and newspapers against the petitioner and also two daughters of a sitting Judge of the SC of India, lead to scandalizing the authority with a mala fide intention, by way of media trial. As a part of interim relief, CJ of the Andhra Pradesh HC directed that the news in regard to registration of FIR shall not be made public. The court also directed that no electronic or print news item be published with respect to the FIR, including social media posts.
Name of the court/Organization : Andhra Pradesh High Court
Details of the case : The district administration of Haryana issued orders under the Epidemic Diseases Act to completely ban unverified and misleading news on social media to prevent dissemination of wrong information.
Name of the court/Organization : District Administration of Haryana
Details of the case : The order directed banning of content on all social media platforms which might cause panic and confusion among the people and creates mistrust against actions of government officials taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Name of the court/Organization : Deputy Commissione of Police (Operations) and Executive Magistrate
Details of the case : The order is applicable for those who air news and opinions on unregistered platforms. It also covers those who share unverifiedand false information in their individual capacity.
Name of the court/Organization : District Collector of Kota and Dholpur
Details of the case : The court placed a complete gag order on the Defendants and asked them not to make any communications of any nature on any medium, print or digital, online or otherwise with respect to the Plaintiff.
Name of the court/Organization : Bombay High Court
Details of the case : The court held that the impugned order by the Trail judge was a gag order which restrained the defendants from making 'defamatory statements' against the plaintiff. The court held that the defendants are not prevented from publishing or telecasting any news item which is not defamatory in their opinion.The gag order by the Trial judge was lifted by the court.
Name of the court/Organization : Karnataka High Court
Details of the case : L.S. Tejasvi Surya, BJP candidate for Bengaluru South, had obtained a temporary injunction order from a local civil court restraining media outlets from publishing “defamatory statements” against him.
Name of the court/Organization : Local civil court in Bangalore
Details of the case : The court cleared the decks for the all-India release of controversial movie 'Padmaavat' on Jan.25, and stayed notifications and orders issued by Rajasthan and Gujarat prohibiting exhibition of the film in their states.
Name of the court/Organization : State gov. of Rajasthan and Gujarat
Details of the case : The special CBI court conducting the trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter barred the media from reporting proceedings till further orders.
Name of the court/Organization : Special CBI Court
Details of the case : The court has barred the media from reporting on proceedings of the 2008 Gorakhpur hate speech case until the judgement is delivered saying that “wrong reporting” has been “causing a lot of embarrassment” to the state.
Name of the court/Organization : Allahabad High Court
Details of the case : A gag order issued by a single judge against milk and dairy development minister on making comments against private dairy companies.
Name of the court/Organization : Madras High Court
Details of the case : After convicting J.Karnan to six months imprisonment, the Court also said that no further statements made by him should be published hereafter after the incident of contempt.
Name of the court/Organization : Supreme Court of Inia
Details of the case : The 24-hour suspension was imposed as a penalty for NDTV's coverage of an attack on the Pathankot air force base.The broadcasting ministry said the channel had divulged "strategically-sensitive details" while covering the attack which took place in January. However the ban was suspended after the Supreme Court agreed to hear NDTV's appeal on Tuesday against it.
Name of the court/Organization : Broadcasting Ministry