Delhi court grants bail to Shashi Tharoor over ‘scorpion’ remarks

A Delhi court granted bail to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor Friday on a complaint over his alleged ‘scorpion’ remarks referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted relief to Tharoor on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 after he appeared before the court and moved bail application.

The court was hearing a criminal defamation complaint filed against Tharoor by Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar, who had said his religious sentiments were hurt by the Congress leader’s statement.

Delhi court allows Shashi Tharoor to travel abroad

New Delhi : A Delhi court Wednesday allowed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, accused in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death, to travel abroad.

Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj granted permission to Tharoor to go to the United Kingdom and France from June 2 to July 1.

In his application, Tharoor claimed he has to attend and speak at different events there.

“The applicant has to travel to United Kingdom and France as he has been invited to speak at different events, scheduled to be held from June 2 to July 1. The applicant has been invited to attend and speak at several events across the United Kingdom during this period,” the application said.

While granting him bail in the case, the court had directed him not to leave the country without its prior permission.

The former Union minister has been charged under Sections 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 of IPC, but he has not been arrested in the case.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

Defamation complaint filed against Shashi Tharoor in Delhi court

New Delhi: A criminal defamation complaint has been filed against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor before a court here for his alleged “scorpion” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his complaint, Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar said his religious sentiments were hurt.

“I am a devotee of Lord Shiva… However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva’s devotees, made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all the Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country,” the complaint said.

“The complainant’s religious sentiments were hurt and accused deliberately did this malicious act, intending to outrage religious feeling of Lord Shiva devotees by insulting their religious believes,” it said.

The complaint, filed through advocate Neeraj, termed the statement as an “intolerable abuse” and “absolute vilification” of the faith of millions of people.

The complaint was filed under section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code relating to defamation.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing Saturday.

Tharoor had stoked a fresh controversy Sunday while speaking at Bangalore Literature Festival, claiming that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”.

Court allows Shashi Tharoor to travel abroad in Sunanda Pushkar case

New Delhi: A Delhi court today grands permission to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, accused in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death in a luxury hotel, to travel abroad.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal allowed Tharoor’s application seeking permission for eight visits to five countries, including the US, Canada and Germany, till December.
The court placed several conditions on Tharoor, while noting that there was nothing on record to suggest that he may flee justice.

“He (Tharoor) has cooperated with the investigation. He had appeared before court on the first date in pursuance of the summons issued to him. There is nothing on record to presume that he may flee justice,” it said.

The court directed the Congress MP to furnish a fixed deposit of Rs 2 lakh, which will be refunded after his return.
It asked him to inform the investigating officer and the court about the travel details and his arrival in the country.
The court also directed him not to tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses.

Sunanda Pushkar death case transferred to designated court

A Delhi court today transferred the Sunanda Pushkar death case, in which her husband and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has been chargesheeted for abetting her suicide, to a special court designated to try lawmakers.

Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmendra Singh transferred the case to Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who will take up the matter on May 28.

“Since he is a sitting Member of Parliament, matter is being sent to the special designated court for politicians, that is ACMM Samar Vishal. Matter be taken up on May 28,” the court said.

The Delhi Police had on May 14 accused Tharoor, the Lok Sabha MP representing Thiruvananthapuram, of abetting Pushkar’s suicide and told a city court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half year-old case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him.

In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, the police named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty.

Shashi Tharoor and Arnab Goswami ready to depose in defamation suit in Delhi High Court

Shashi Tharoor and Arnab Goswami today told the Delhi High Court they were willing to step into the witness box to depose in the defamation suit filed by the Congress leader against the journalist and his channel Republic TV.

The statements were made by their counsel before Justice Manmohan, who sought to know whether Tharoor, a senior Congress leader, and Goswami, anchor and managing director of Republic TV, were willing to come before the court to defend themselves.

“Will you (Tharoor) step into the witness box? Your case was that you do not want to speak,” the judge asked the leader’s counsel.

Tharoor’s counsel Gaurav Gupta categorically stated that his client will turn up for deposition in the defamation case filed by him against Goswami and the news channel.

When the same question was posed to Goswami’s counsel Malvika Trivedi, she submitted, “He will also come to depose”.

The queries were posed by the court during framing of issues in the suit. Among the issues framed is whether Tharoor is entitled to compensation in a civil defamation suit filed by him against Goswami and his channel.

Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had filed the suit against Goswami and Republic TV, claiming damages and compensation of Rs two crore for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news related to the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Among other issues are whether the news reports broadcast by the journalist and his news channel between May 8 and 11, 2017, pertaining to the death of Pushkar were defamatory.

One of the issues framed was whether Tharoor is entitled to the permanent and prohibitory injunction restraining Goswami and his channel from maligning and defaming the Congress leader in any manner.

The court fixed the matter for May 10 for cross-examination of Tharoor by Goswami’s counsel and sent it to the joint registrar to decide whether any defamatory statements were made or telecast by TV channel.

Tharoor, through three different applications, had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show related to his wife’s death till the probe was completed by the Delhi Police.

The judge had, however, refused to restrain the journalist and his news channel from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Tharoor’s wife. It had, however, said the coverage has to be “tempered and balanced”.

The judge had also held that Tharoor had a “right to silence” under the Constitution and that “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.

Goswami and the channel had contended they have been cautious and never imputed that the Congress leader was guilty.

In his suit, Tharoor claimed the coverage was sensational and aimed at creating a non-existing controversy by maligning his public life and image.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor’s silence: Delhi HC

Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor's silence: Delhi HC
Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor’s silence: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar but said it has to be “tempered and balanced”.

The high court also held that Tharoor has a “right to silence” under the Constitution and “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.

Justice Manmohan, who delivered a 61-page judgement, said before airing any story on Pushkar’s death, the channel should give Tharoor a written notice, by electronic mode, seeking his version.

“If the plaintiff (Tharoor) refuses or does not reply within a reasonable time, he will not be compelled to speak and the story will be aired with the disclosure that he has refused to speak to the defendants (TV channel and Goswami),” the court said.

The court disposed of three applications filed by Tharoor seeking to restrain the TV channel and Goswami from airing news regarding his wife’s death till the pendency of the proceedings before the trial court here.

He has also sought a direction to the journalist and the news channel that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, as it is yet to to established by a competent court that her death was “murder” to ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.

The applications were filed in Tharoor’s Rs two 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. The pending suit is listed for further proceedings before the Joint Registrar on January 18 next year.

Goswami and the channel had contended that they have been cautious and have never imputed that the Congress leader is guilty in the case.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014 under mysterious circumstances.

Dealing with Tharoor’s applications which was opposed by the TV channel, Justice Manmohan discussed domestic and foreign laws and judgements to conclude that in the present case, an interlocutory injunction cannot be granted at this prima facie stage to restrain publication.

“Keeping in view the aforesaid mandate of law and the prima facie findings, this court is of the opinion that in the present case the defendants have the right to air their stories and the same cannot be curbed, but it has to be tempered and balanced,” the court said.

It also observed that an individual affected by the story must be given an option to give his version, but he cannot be compelled to speak if he does not want to.

“The culture of thrusting a microphone in the face of a person needs to be deprecated,” it said.

The court also observed that it is important that when criminal investigation has commenced, media reporting should be sensitive to the indeterminacy of the questions raised in the proceedings.

“Press cannot convict anyone or insinuate that he/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,” the court said.

It said that it has refrained from saying anything more as the counsel for the journalist and the news channel have assured the court that in future they would exercise restraint as well as “bring down the rhetoric”.

“Even according to senior counsel for Tharoor, subsequent to the said statement the previous vitriolic attack was missing. The statement made by (the counsel for Goswami and the TV channel) is accepted by this court and defendants are held bound by the same,” it noted in its order.

The court also made it clear that all observations in the judgment were prima facie in nature and in the context of the disputes between the parties before it.

It also made it clear that none of the observations shall be used in any criminal proceeding, if any, filed by the state.

It observed that irrespective of the style of reporting and the remarks made, the court was of the prima facie view that reporting in this matter was a case of legitimate investigative journalism as even three and a half years after the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of a then sitting Union Minister, no charge-sheet has been filed.

“The police may have its own reasons for not completing the investigation, but this is a case where defendants cannot be denied the right to telecast a story as it is a matter of substantial importance with respect to a public figure.

“Further, the documents and materials highlighted by the defendants seem prima facie relevant and material. There is no material to prima facie conclude that the stories have been aired by the defendants with a reckless disregard for truth or precipitated by actual malice,” it noted.

The court was of the view that in this case as far as the alleged defamatory remarks in concerned, it is of the opinion the matter requireed a detail trial.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC asks Arnab, Republic TV to respect Tharoor’s silence

Delhi HC asks Arnab, Republic TV to respect Tharoor's silence
Delhi HC asks Arnab, Republic TV to respect Tharoor’s silence

The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from airing news or debate on Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death case but asked them to respect the Congress MP’s “right to silence”.

Justice Manmohan said the right to air the story cannot be taken away but a balance has to be maintained.

The high court also asked Goswami and Republic TV to send an advance notice to Tharoor for his views before airing any news in connection with his wife’s death case.

“Every individual has a right to silence. He cannot be forced or compelled to speak on the issue,” the judge said.

The court’s order came on three different applications filed by Tharoor in his Rs two 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 January 17, 2014 under mysterious circumstances.

Tharoor has alleged that they continued to engage in “defaming and maligning” him despite an assurance given by their counsel in the court on May 29.

The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating the facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death but could not call the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram “a criminal”.

The Congress leader has sought a direction to them that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, since it is yet to established by a competent court whether her death was a “murder”.

( Source – PTI )

Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar

Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar
Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor today urged the Delhi High Court to stop journalist Arnab Goswami and his news channel Republic TV from “misreporting” his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death, saying his “right to be left alone” and “right to silence” must be respected.

The submission was made before Justice Manmohan, who reserved the verdict on Tharoor’s plea seeking to restrain Goswami and his channel from airing any news or debate about the death of Pushkar.

The journalist and the channel, on the other hand, said they had only placed the actual evidence and the police report while broadcasting the news.

The Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha MP has filed an interim application for stopping the channel from broadcasting the incident in the pending Rs two crore civil defamation suit against the TV anchor and Republic TV.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, submitted that the court must direct Goswami and the channel not to mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar”, as it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was “murder”, and ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.

“Goswami and channel must not involve in rhetorical assertions,” Khurshid contended.

Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Goswami and the channel, said they have neither “condemned” Tharoor, nor suggested that he was involved in the death of his wife.

The counsel also submitted that the Congress leader was not called “the killer” of his wife by the journalist or the channel, as claimed by Tharoor.

After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the court reserved its order.

Tharoor has filed three different applications through his counsel Gaurav Gupta seeking various directions, including not to make any defamatory publication against him in any manner.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The matter is still under investigation.

Tharoor had on May 26 this year filed the civil defamation suit against Goswami and Republic TV in the High Court.

He had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to the death of his wife till the investigation is completed by the Delhi Police.

Tharoor has referred to the broadcasting of news items from May 8 to 13 when the TV channel claimed to have aired an expose connected to the death of his wife.

The politician has alleged that despite assurances given in the court on May 29 by the counsel for Goswami and Republic TV, they were engaged in “defaming and maligning” him.

The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death, but could not call the Lok Sabha MP a “criminal”. It had also told their counsel to reduce the rhetoric.

Goswami and the channel had in their affidavit said that they have abided by the court’s direction and in “no manner misreported or misled the viewers as the facts were correctly reported”.

They have also claimed that the suit has been “instituted with an oblique and ulterior motive and is a misguided attempt to muzzle a media channel and the dissemination of true facts to the public”.

( Source – PTI )

No ‘name calling’ in Sunanda Pushkar case: Delhi HC

No 'name calling' in Sunanda Pushkar case: Delhi HC
No ‘name calling’ in Sunanda Pushkar case: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today asked a TV channel and the kin of Sunanda Pushkar not to indulge in “name calling” in connection with her death case but said there could be a possibility of some posturing from both sides.

The court was hearing Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s plea seeking to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from alleged misreporting on his wife’s death.

Justice Manmohan made the observation after lawyers for both sides accused each other of not being careful while tweeting about the case as well as about each other.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, said while the media house was now careful in how it reported about the case, some of its reporters were not exercising the same care while tweeting about it.

On the other hand, advocate Malvika Trivedi, who appeared for the media house, contended that Tharoor had also made endless tweets against it which, she said, were offensive.

Khurshid in response said that his client’s remarks about the media house were harsh and funny, but not defamatory and assured that such statements would not be made again.

The bench, thereafter, said, “A little bit of posturing does happen on both sides. As long as there is no name calling, the rhetoric comes down and they respect your right to silence, then it should be fine.”

During the hearing, the Khurshid said he does not want to gag the media and had never asked for a gag order.

“Investigation is their right. I am not objecting to it if they come out with something after their investigation.

Here, they have already held me guilty,” the lawyer said.

The channel said it was not misreporting the case or the facts.

The court, thereafter, told Tharoor’s lawyers to file their response to the affidavit filed by the journalist and the channel and listed the case for hearing on September 21.

The observations came during the hearing of the Congress leader’s Rs two crore defamation suit against Goswami and his channel.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014 in mysterious circumstances.

( Source – PTI )