New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the Centre’s response on actor Rakul Preet Singh’s petition to stop media reports linking her with the Rhea Chakraborty drug case. The actor, in her petition, had claimed media reports were connecting her to the case despite Rhea Chakraborty retracting from the statement in which she had allegedly named her.
The media reports are being run in contravention to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s guidelines, the 29-year-old actor – represented by advocate Aman Hingorani – had claimed in her petition.
The plea said the Press Council of India has also specifically required the media not to sensationalise or invade privacy rights.
“She was shocked to watch news relating to her, along with actress Sara Ali Khan and designer Simone Khambatta, being named as individuals who take drugs by actress Rhea Chakraborty in the ongoing investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau in Mumbai,” the plea said.
“The respondents have failed to discharge their statutory functions of ensuring compliance by the members of the News Broadcasters Association of their own directives, which has resulted in the flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of the Petitioner guaranteed under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution,” it added.
“In recognition of her popularity, clean image and public service, the Telangana government appointed her in 2017 as the brand ambassador for the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” programme. She is also associated with various brands, including Samsung mobiles,” the plea said.
A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla has now issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and the Press Council of India, seeking their stand on her petition.
It also expressed hope that “media houses would show restraint in their reports and would abide by the cable TV regulations, program code and various guidelines, statutory and self regulatory, while making any reports with regard to the petitioner” (Rakul Preet Singh).
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.
Rakul Preet Singh was among the list of actors named by actor Rhea Chakraborty during the investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
Chakraborty, who has been arrested by the NCB, had reportedly said that 15 B-Grade Bollywood celebrities were either procurers of drugs while some were consumers.
The Hindi film industry has been facing sharp criticism following the arrest Chakraborty by the NCB which is probing into the drug angle following actor Sushant Rajput’s death.
The government, however, has said that there were no “actionable input” on any nexus between people in the film industry and drug traffickers.