The Bombay High Court on Monday this week issued a notice to the Udaipur-based newspaper, the Udaipur Times, for its “impermissible reporting” of the actual trial related to the Dawoodi Bohra community before the Bombay High Court.
The bench headed by Justice Gautam Patel took objection to a report published in the Udaipur Times. He noted that the report contained editorial comments on the cross-examination itself, including remarks on Mr Chagla, a lawyer representing the defendant, as well as some comments about him as a judge presiding over the trial.
An interim application was filed before the court by defendant Mufaddal Burhanuddin Saifuddin, who alleged that even after the explicit direction, the plaintiff Taher Fakhruddin Saheb provided access to trial records to The Udaipur Times even although the trial is yet to be completed.
In its order, the court observed that The Udaipur Times got access to one or more sessions of the cross-examinations of witnesses before the bench. In addition to this, the court also noted that a journalist or reporter with the Udaipur Times did indeed have access to the trial record or the trial itself after pausing the material annexed to the Interim Application.
Admitting that the news daily did publish the excerpts of the cross examination, the court said:
Court asks The Udaipur Times to appear before the court
The court came down hard on the plaintiff, asking him to explain how he felt entitled to share restricted information with The Udaipur Times despite being clear and unambiguous words of the order.
The court also asked the plaintiff to submit an explanatory affidavit with an appropriately worded apology and an undertaking. Issuing a stern warning, the court observed:
The Court summoned The Udaipur Times to appear before the Court online on July 19 either through an authorized representative or by an Advocate appropriately directed to explain its conduct.
The petition filed in Bombay HC over leadership of Dawoodi Bohra sect
The case pertains to a petition filed by the plaintiff, Khuzaima Qutubuddin alias Taher Fakhruddin in June 2014 in Bombay HC seeking to be declared as the 53rd Da’i-al-Mutlaq of the community and challenging the claim of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the son of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, to the leadership. He has claimed in his suit that his half-brother, Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, the 52nd Da’i who passed away in January 2014, had conferred Nass (pronounced him as the successor) in 1965 in secret.