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Delhi HC: Learn law before journalism

Displeasure over ‘parallel probe’ running on TV channel in connection with Sunanda Pushkar’s death case
Shashi Tharoor

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 11.09.20, 06:53 AM

People must take a course in criminal trial and then get into journalism, was how an annoyed Delhi High Court remarked while expressing displeasure over the alleged parallel investigation being run by anchor Arnab Goswami on his TV channel in connection with Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death case.

The high court, which observed responsible journalism is the need of the time, said it was not saying that anyone would gag the media but at the same time, sanctity of investigation must be maintained.

“Can the media sit in appeal against the chargesheet filed by an investigating agency? Justice Mukta Gupta asked.

“It is not a reflection on the plaintiff (Tharoor) but the investigating agency. Can there be a parallel investigation or trial?.. Would you not like the courts to take their own course?” the judge asked.

The high court was hearing an application by Congress MP Tharoor seeking an interim injunction against Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV, from making defamatory remarks against the leader.

Tharoor’s grievance relates to broadcast of the programmes naming him on the TV channel in July and August and the journalist claiming that they had investigated Sunanda Pushkar case better than the police and that he still had no doubt that Pushkar was murdered.

The high court expressed its displeasure over the claims made by the journalist when the trial in the criminal case was still pending.

“People must take a course in criminal trial and then get into journalism,” the judge remarked.

“Please show restraint. Once the police investigation is going on in the criminal case, there cannot be a parallel investigation by the media,” the judge said.

The high court referred to a December 1, 2017 order passed in the matter in which it was stated that “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.”

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 Goswami and his channel continued to engage in “defaming and maligning” him despite an assurance given by their counsel in the court on May 29, 2017.


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