The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the national media for its reporting on the Tablighi Jamaat gathering at a Delhi mosque. “Freedom of speech is one of the most abused freedoms in recent times,” Chief Justice SA Bobde said.

The CJI was hearing the petitions filed against the media for “spreading hatred” over the Tablighi meet at Markaz Nizamuddin. In March, the religious meeting created a huge controversy after it became a super-spreader of the deadly COVID-19.

Across India, many cases of coronavirus were found linked to those who had attended the meeting.

While the media was criticised heavily for showing fake news on the Tablighi Jamaat members, the centre had come in its defense saying there was “no instance of bad reporting”.

The Apex Court asked the centre that it “must tell us instances of bad reporting” along with the action that had been taken.

“You cannot treat this court the way you are treating it. Some junior officer has filed the affidavit. Your affidavit is evasive and says petitioner shows no instance of bad reporting. You may not agree but how you can say there is no instance of bad reporting shown,” the CJI said.

“The Secretary must tell us what he thinks of the incidents pointed out by the petitioner. We find it extremely evasive. The affidavit does not make any response on the allegations made by the petitioners on some TV channels spreading hatred,” he added.