Respect Tharoor’s right to silence, Delhi High Court tells Arnab Goswami and Republic TV

The court also sought the channel's reply to the petition that alleged that they were misreporting on the death of Tharoor’s wife, Sunanda.
Respect Tharoor’s right to silence, Delhi High Court tells Arnab Goswami and Republic TV
Respect Tharoor’s right to silence, Delhi High Court tells Arnab Goswami and Republic TV
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The Delhi High Court on Friday upheld Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s ‘right to silence’ on the issue of his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death. The court was hearing a petition filed by Shashi Tharoor against Republic TV and its founder-editor Arnab Goswami on the channel’s alleged misreporting on the death of his wife.

The High Court observed, “Arnab Goswami and the channel have to respect Tharoor’s right to silence on the issue.” The court also sought the channel and Arnab’s reply to the Congress leader’s plea.   

Following the court’s observations on Friday, Tharoor took to Twitter to state that his duty was to cooperate with the police and other authorities and not with a “banana republic” channel.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday filed an application before the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain Republic TV from making defamatory publications against him with regard to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Tharoor has already filed a defamation suit against journalist Arnab Goswami and his news channel Republic TV and claimed Rs 2 crore damages from them for defamatory remarks against him.

On May 29, the High Court had said the TV news channel can air stories by stating the facts related to the investigation into the death of Pushkar, but cannot call the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram a "criminal".

The court said that they (Goswami and his channel) cannot use such language and had sought response from the journalist and channel on the defamation suit by August 16.

In a fresh application through advocate Gaurav Gupta, Tharoor said: "Despite the assurance given by the counsel of the defendants (Republic TV) on the last date of hearing, the defendants are still engaging in defaming the plaintiff (Tharoor) and maligning his image."

The application stated: "Numerous shows, debates, interviews etc. are being broadcast repeatedly on the New Channel of the defendants, wherein innuendos are being used to portray that the plaintiff was complicit in the unfortunate death of the deceased."

"There have also been instances when the plaintiff has been categorically called to be the killer of the deceased," it added.

The Congress leader pleaded that the expression "murder of Sunanda Pushkar" should not be used as it is yet to be established by a competent court of law that the death of his wife was a 'murder'.

The High Court will hear Tharoor's application on Friday.

Republic TV had recently aired what it called an expose in the death of Pushkar, playing tapes of a purported conversation between a reporter and Tharoor's assistant Narayan on the night of Sunanda’s death. Sunanda was found dead in a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

Tharoor, in his defamation suit, said he has suffered humiliation and severe loss of reputation in the eyes of the public.

He has baselessly been declared by them as the alleged murderer of his wife, said the defamation suit, seeking a permanent injunction against the channel from reporting or broadcasting any news regarding Pushkar's death until investigations are complete.

(With IANS inputs)

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