New Delhi, September 10: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami to comply with his undertaking to exercise restraint while reporting on the Sunanda Pushkar death case. It directed him to be bound by his undertaking to the court while reporting on the case as the probe is still pending.
The direction came while hearing Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s interim plea seeking to restrain the news channel from levelling allegations in connection with the ongoing trial.
During the hearing, Justice Gupta questioned the claims made by Goswami that a murder has been committed when the charge sheet says its was a case of abetment to suicide, The Hindu reported.
“Were you [Goswami] at the spot? Are you an eye witness? You must respect the sanctity of an ongoing investigation,” Justice Gupta said.
Goswami’s counsel Malvika Trivedi replied that there was evidence from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) doctor based on which the channel aired certain contents.
Justice Gupta, however, said it was for the court to decide what constitutes evidence in the case. The court noted that “statements from here and there” do not constitute evidence.
“You [Goswami] are nobody in the field to get evidence or get access to evidence,” Justice Gupta said, adding that there are “serious consequences” to alleging that a murder had taken place.
The High Court said it did not want to gag the media but “the sanctity of the criminal investigation has to be maintained”. People should take a course in criminal trial and then get into journalism, Justice Gupta remarked.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tharoor, said Goswami aired defamatory contents on multiple occasions despite the undertaking to the court. Sibal argued that the chargesheet has been filed by the police where Tharoor is accused of abetment to suicide, but Goswami is claiming that murder has taken place.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The Delhi Police’s charge sheet had named Tharoor as an accused for alleged offences under Sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 of the Indian Penal Code (abetment of suicide)