INTRODUCTION

The Delhi High Court on Thursday questioned Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV for running a parallel investigation and trial in the Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanada Pushkar’s death case and directed him to be bound by his undertaking on showing restraint and bringing down the rhetoric.

Appellant’s Contentions

A plea was moved by Shashi Tharoor seeking interim injuction against Arnab Goswami, restraining him from reporting or broadcasting any news or any show related to the death of Mrs. Sunanda Pushkar till the case is pending and also to restrain him from defaming the plaintiff in any manner.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Shashi Tharoor argued that despite the charge sheet being filed in the Sunanda Pushkar case, where no case of murder is made out, Arnab Goswami claims in his shows that he has no doubts that Sunanda Pushkar was murdered. He even pointed out that Goswami has continued to broadcast defamatory content against Tharoor and even claimed that he doesn’t trust the investigation being conducted by the Delhi Police, even though the Court’s last order of 1st December, 2017 directed to restraint and refrain from conducting a media trial.

Mr. Kapil Sibal stated,

“Can a man be abused like this in a public debate? How can he (Goswami) say that a murder was committed, when the charge sheet say otherwise? This can’t continue like this till this court hears the matter”.

Key Highlights

  • Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in South Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.
  • The Delhi Police filed a Charge sheet in the trial court which took cognizance of it and Tharoor was summoned under Section 306( Abetment to suicide) and Section 498 A (cruelty to married woman) of IPC in the light of the investigation done by the agency.

Defendant’s Contentions

Ms. Malvika Trivedi, Goswami’s counsel, took the stand by saying that they have credible evidence from an AIIMS doctor that points towards Pushkar’s death.

Court’s Decision

The Single Bench consisting Justice Mukta Gupta, putting aside the defendant’s stand stated,

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, are you 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 a murder? You need first to understand what murder is before claiming that a murder took place.”

The court further observed that when a chargesheet has been filed by an agency authorized to conduct investigation and a competent court, while taking cognizance of the same, has pima 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’s previous order.

The court even remarked by stating’

People must take a course in criminal trial and then get into journalism“.

Therefore, the court directed Arnab Goswami to comply with the court’s previous order and exercise restraint till the next date of hearing or else consequences will follow.

-Report by Abhilasha Kumari

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