New Delhi:Delhi High Court on Thursday directed Republic TV Editor Arnab Goswami to restrain from calling anyone guilty in Sunanda Pushkar death case and bring down the rhetoric while covering the matter.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had filed a petition before Delhi High Court seeking interim injunction against Arnab Goswami by restraining him from reporting any news or broadcasting any show related to the death of Sunanda Pushkar and to also restrain him from maligning and defaming the plaintiff in any manner.
Counsel for Tharoor submitted that chargesheet in the Sunanda Pushkar case has been filed and after investigation no case for murder is made out but Arnab Goswami is claiming in his shows that he has no doubts that Sunanda Pushkar was murdered.
Counsel for Pushkar pointed out that Goswami was directed by the last order dated December 1, 2017 to restrain and refrain from conducting a media trial but he has continued to broadcast defamatory content against Tharoor by claiming that he doesn't trust the investigation conducted by Police.
Counsel said, how can Goswami say that a murder was committed, when the charge sheet says otherwise?
While taking into consideration the previous order of this court, the court rapped Arnab Goswami by noting that: Counsel for Goswami submitted that they have credible evidence from an AIIMS doctor that points towards Pushkar's death.
Justice Mukta Gupta after hearing argument said "You are not in the field of collecting evidence, you have no access to the evidence, do you even know how evidence is collected and appreciated in a criminal trial? Can the media act as an appellate authority over what is stated in the charge sheet? There is no gagging of the media, but the law also prohibits media trial."
Justice further observed that when a chargesheet has been filed by an Investing Agency authorised to conduct investigation and a competent court while taking cognisance of the same has prima facie concluded that the case involves abetment to suicide and not murder the statements made by the defendant insinuating murder being committed by Tharoor violates the directions of the court.
The Court said "The sanctity of an investigation and evidence has to be understood and respected and when a case under abetment to suicide is made out in the charge-sheet, why are you still saying that murder has been committed. Were you there at the spot or an eye-witness? You must understand and respect the sanctity of criminal investigation and the various contours of it. Just because there's a bite mark, it doesn't amount to murder. Do you even know what constituted murder? You need to first understand what murder is before claiming that a murder took place."
The Court observed that Press has to exercise care and caution while reporting criminal matters that are under the investigation and directed Arnab Goswami to comply with this court's previous order and exercise restraint till the next date of hearing and this has to be strictly complied with, otherwise consequences will follow.
The Court said that during the pendency of an investigation in a criminal case media should refrain from running a parallel trial or from calling someone guilty or from makingunsubstantiated claims and adjourned the matter for further hearing on on November 10.(UNI)