Del HC | Press cannot “convict anyone” or insinuate that he or she is guilty: Arnab Goswami to exercise restraint while reporting Sunanda Pushkar Case

Delhi High Court: Mukta Gupta, J., held that in light of investigations being carried out in the Sunanda Pushkar Case, Arnab Goswami is forbidden from making statements that he still has no doubt that Sunanda was murdered or that he had said to the plaintiff that the plaintiff should be extremely happy that he had promised to investigate who killed his wife, which insinuates the plaintiff to have committed murder which was forbidden by the Court in earlier Order dated 1-12-2017.

Through the present application, the plaintiff has placed a grievance relating to the broadcast on the defendant 1’s channel.

Plaintiff seeks an interim injunction against the defendants from making defamatory remarks against the plaintiff.

Counsel for the plaintiff submitted that broadcasts made by defendant 1 through the live telecast claiming that they have investigated Sunanda Pushkar’s case better than the police and that he still has no doubt that Sunanda was murdered.

On 1-012-2017, this Court had passed a detailed order wherein the plaintiff had sought an interim injunction.

Media Reporting 

In the above order passed by the Court, the High Court had clearly stated that,

“…when a criminal investigation is commenced, media reporting should be sensitive to the indeterminacy of the questions raised in the proceedings. Press cannot “convict anyone” or insinuate that he or she is guilty or make any other unsubstantiated claims. Press has to exercise care and caution while reporting about matters under investigation or pending trial.”

Decision

Bench on perusal of the above stated that in light of the investigation being carried out by a duly authorised and competent agency and a Court of competent jurisdiction having taken cognizance on the material which is the material collected during the course of the investigation as per law, the statements of the defendant 1 that he still has no doubt that Sunanda was murdered or that he had said to the plaintiff that the plaintiff should be extremely happy that he had promised to investigate who killed his wife are statements which insinuated the plaintiff to have committed murder as was forbidden by the decision of this Court dated 1-12-2017.

Hence, Court directed defendants to be bound by the statements made on their behalf by Senior Counsel as recorded vide Order dated 29-05-2017 and 01-12-2017 till the next date of hearing. [Dr Shashi Tharoor v. Arnab Goswami, CS (OS0 No. 253 of 2017, decided on 10-09-2020]

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