The Delhi High Court on Monday asked journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV channel not to make defamatory remarks against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor while issuing them a notice. Tharoor had last week filed a civil defamation suit, seeking Rs two crore in damages against Republic TV for making allegedly defamatory remarks against him.
Tharoor’s lawyer, Salman Khurshid, said the suit did not seek a gag order. He said it sought to restrain the channel and Goswami from making remarks until the police investigation into the death of Tharoor’s wife was complete.
Khurshid asked for justification of the remarks. Goswami’s lawyer, Sandeep Sethi, said the remarks were not created but based on facts. He added the defendants had invited Tharoor on their show. He said that he will advise his client to tone down. Sethi said that a written reply justifying the remarks will be filed.
Justice Manmohan said Tharoor had the right to remain silent. “But the defendants could investigate the case. While they could do fair and factual reporting, Tharoor could not be called names, much less declared guilty of any offence.” The court listed the matter for August 16 and provided six weeks for filing replies.
Tharoor had sought “permanent prohibitory injunction for restraining the defendants from reporting any news, or broadcasting any show” regarding the death his wife, Sunanda Pushkar, until the probe was complete.