The Delhi High Court on Friday (December 1) refused to put any restrain on Arnab Goswami and his channel Republic TV from broadcasting news or any item related to the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
However, the bench of Justice Manmohan directed the Editor-in-Chief and the channel to send an advance notice to Tharoor seeking his views on the matter, before airing news and shows related to the death of Sunanda Pushkar. In case Tharoor refuses to comment, then that must also be aired.
The high court said that Tharoor’s right to silence must be respected, while disposing off three applications of Tharoor in his civil defamation suit.
The court said that it is of the opinion that the defendant’s right to broadcast a story cannot be curbed but it needs to be“balanced”at the same time.
“Every individual has a right to silence. He cannot be forced or compelled to speak on the issue,” said Justice Manmohan.
The court said that before airing of any story pertaining to the plaintiff (Shashi Tharoor), the defendants (Republic TV) shall give Tharoor a written notice, asking for his response and if Tharoor refuses to respond within a reasonable time, the story shall be aired with the disclosure that he refused to speak.
The court also observed that the media should be sensitive while reporting on a case where in the criminal investigation has commenced.
However, the court has not yet dismissed the Rs 2 crore defamation suit filed by Shashi Tharoor. The matter would be taken up by a Joint Registrar on January 18 next year for admission or denial. Thereafter, the farming of charges would be taken up by a regular bench on March 7, 2018.
—India Legal Bureau