The Delhi High Court on Friday sent a legal notice to the Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami seeking a response from him and his channel on Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s plea to refrain from “misreporting” his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death and asked them to respect his “right to silence”.
Justice Manmohan issued the notice to Goswami and Republic TV after Tharoor alleged that they continued to engage in “defaming and maligning” him despite an assurance given in the court on 29 May by their counsel.
Taking note of this, the bench said, “You (Goswami and the channel) have to respect Tharoor's right to silence.”
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, submitted that the court must direct Goswami and the channel to not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar”, as it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was “murder”, to ensure the trial was not prejudiced.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Goswami and the channel, said they have only placed the actual evidence and the police report while broadcasting the news. “We have not called him a murderer in any of the news broadcasts on the channel (Republic channel),” Sethi said.
The judge, however, said orally that he had asked the counsel who had assured that names would not be taken. “They will have to abide by that,” the judge said. Advocate Sethi replied, “My client stands by what was assured by me.”
The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on 16 August.
The court was hearing an application moved by Tharoor in his pending Rs 2 crore defamation suit against Goswami and the channel for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the mysterious death of his wife.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of 17 January 2014. The matter is still under investigation.