The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Shashi Tharoor and Arnab Goswami, against whom a defamation suit has been filed by the Congress MP, to file affidavits admitting or denying the documents filed by each other in the lawsuit. High Court Joint Registrar Rakesh Pandit directed Tharoor to file the affidavit in 10 days and gave two days to the TV anchor to do the same.
It has now fixed the case on February 21 for admission-denial of documents, a procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) which enables rival parties to a civil suit to admit or deny papers. The counsel for Goswami said his affidavit was ready and would be filed in two days. The matter on Thursday came up before the Joint Registrar after the court on December 1, 2017 had sent it for admission-denial of documents by parties.
Tharoor, the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, has filed a civil defamation suit against Goswami and Republic TV claiming damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Tharoor, through three different applications, had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to his wife’s death till the probe was completed by the Delhi Police.
Justice Manmohan, however, had refused to restrain the journalist and his news channel from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Tharoor’s wife but had said it has to be “tempered and balanced”. It had also held that Tharoor has a “right to silence” under the Constitution and “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.
Goswami and the channel had contended that they have been cautious and have never imputed that the Congress leader is guilty in the case. The law suit has referred to the broadcasting of news items from May 8 to 13, 2017 when the TV channel claimed to air an expose connected to the death of his wife. The suit, filed through advocate Gaurav Gupta denounced the news, claiming that the recordings were released in a sensational manner so as to appease the viewers and created a non-existing controversy by maligning his public life and public image. It stated that the police is probing the matter and has also lodged an FIR.
Sunanda was found dead in a suite of a five star hotel in South Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.