The Hush Post: Refusing to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from airing news or debate on Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death case, the Delhi High Court on Friday asked them to respect the Congress MP’s “right to silence”. Justice Manmohan said the right to air the story cannot be taken away but a balance has to be maintained. The court also asked Goswami and Republic TV to send an advance notice to Tharoor for his views before airing any news in connection with his wife’s death case.
“Every individual has a right to silence. He cannot be forced or compelled to speak on the issue,” the judge said. Tharoor has alleged that the journalist and his channel continued to indulge in misreporting and had broadcast an eight-hour long programme on September 4 relating to his wife’s death. Tharoor moved a fresh application in the pending Rs 2 crore civil defamation suit against Goswami and the Republic TV for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news on the death of Pushkar.
In their affidavit filed before the high court recently, the journalist and the news channel had said they have neither “condemned” Tharoor, nor suggested that he was involved in the death of his wife. They had also denied that Tharoor was called “the killer’ of his wife by him or the channel, as alleged by the MP.
Tharoor has alleged that they continued to engage in “defaming and maligning” him despite an assurance given by their counsel in the court on May 29. The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating the facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death but could not call the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram “a criminal”.
The Congress leader has sought a direction to them that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, since it is yet to be established by a competent court whether her death was a “murder”. Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014 under mysterious circumstances.