The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his TV network Republic from airing news stories related to the case of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death.
The court however observed that Goswami as the editor as well as the channel should respect Tharoor’s right to be silent on the matter adding that the press cant “convict anyone” or “insinuate” anyone’s guilt.
It also urged the press to exercise ‘care and caution’ while reporting on matters that are still under investigation or under trial.
The court has also directed Goswami and his channel to send Tharoor advance notice in order to gain his views before airing news stories related to the Pushkar death case.
Right To Silence Available To All
Justice Manmohan noted that everyone had “a right to silence” and so Tharoor cannot be “forced or compelled to speak” on the matter
The court’s directive came in regards to three applications that had been made by Tharoor as a part of the Rs. 2 crore defamation suit he has filed against Goswami and the channel for the alleged “defamatory remarks” made by the journalist on air.
The Delhi High Court had earlier reserved making interim orders on restraining Goswami and his channel on airing news or debates regarding Pushkar’s death case. Justice Manmohan sent out a notice to Goswami asking for his responses on the plea by Tharoor on restricting Goswami and the channel from allegedly misreporting on court proceedings of Pushkar’s death.
The court had also noted that the Congress leader failed to show any law under which the journalist’s investigation must be stopped.
Justice Manmohan asked Tharoor to show if Goswami had ever called him a ‘murderer’ after the first hearing in May. He further added that he cannot dictate “the editorial policy of a news channel”.
Channel Continuing To “Misrepresent” Case
Tharoor had accused that the journalist and the channel had continued to misrepresent the case even after the August court hearing, and had broadcast an 8-hour programme related to Pushkar’s death.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead at a five-star hotel suite in Delhi in January 2014.
According to Tharoor the channel’s broadcast was made in an attempt to establish itself, and highlighted that the media had a role as a witness but not as “a prosecutor, a judge or an executioner.”
The Thiruvananthapuram MP noted that he had nothing to hide and was fully cooperating with the police.
Sudhir Gupta , head of All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) forensic department, had confirmed earlier this year that Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor’s was “unnatural” and had been caused by poisoning.
Gupta stated that the opinion was formed on basis of “circumstantial evidence where certain drugs and poison” had been recovered by the Delhi Police.