Updated: September 11, 2020 7:58:56 am
Saying that there cannot be a parallel investigation by the media when police investigation is on, the Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami to adhere to an undertaking given to the court in December 2017 that he will “exercise restraint as well as bring down the rhetoric” when covering the Sunanda Pushkar death case.
“Can the media sit in appeal against the chargesheet filed by an investigating agency?,” Justice Mukta Gupta said, adding that the court was not saying that anyone will gag the media but sanctity of investigation must be maintained. The court was hearing an application filed by Shashi Tharoor, Pushkar’s husband and Congress leader, who alleged that Goswami had continued to flout the undertaking recorded before the court in 2017.
“Defendants are thus directed to be bound by the statement made on their behalf by their counsel till the next date of hearing,” the court said. In his application, Tharoor sought an interim injunction to restrain Goswami from levelling any defamatory remarks against him in the context of the death case pending before the trial court. On Thursday, the court issued a notice to Goswami.
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While asking Goswami to exercise “restraint”, Justice Gupta said it was for the court of law to decide about evidence in a criminal case.
“Were you at the spot, are you an eye-witness?” the court asked when Goswami’s counsel Malvika Trivedi said a certain broadcast on the channel was made on the basis of “evidence” from an AIIMS doctor.
Tharoor’s lawyers informed the court that while the chargesheet in the death case was filed with regard to abettment to suicide, Goswami “keeps on claiming” that it is a case of murder.
They added that in his television debates, Goswami claims that “he will expose Dr Tharoor as a murderer”. Tharoor was represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Vikas Pahwa.
In 2017, Tharoor had filed a suit seeking compensation and damages from Goswami for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him and sought that Goswami be restrained from reporting about the death of his wife. While the court had declined to restrict Goswami then, the latter’s counsel had given an undertaking that he would exercise restraint in reporting the case.
Pushkar was found dead in a Delhi hotel in 2014. The investigating agency in 2018 filed a chargesheet against Tharoor in the case under provisions pertaining to abetment to suicide and cruelty against a married woman.
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