New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today fixed March 7 for framing of issues in a civil defamation suit filed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor against journalist Arnab Goswami and his channel Republic TV. High Court Joint Registrar Rakesh Pandit sent the matter before the court for framing of issues after Tharoor, Goswami and the TV channel by way of affidavits endorsed the documents and the annexures filed by each of them along with the civil suit.
The Joint Registrar had on January 18 fixed the case for conclusion of admission or denial of documents, a procedure laid down in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) which enables rival parties to a civil suit to admit or deny papers submitted in court. Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had filed the civil defamation suit against Goswami and Republic TV claiming damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
Tharoor, through three different applications, had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to his wife’s death till the probe was completed by the Delhi Police. Justice Manmohan 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 but had said it has to be “tempered and balanced”. The judge had also held that Tharoor had a “right to silence” under the Constitution and “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.
Goswami and the channel had contended that they have been cautious and had never imputed that the Congress leader was guilty. Tharoor’s law suit had referred to the broadcasting of news items from May 8 to 13, 2017 when the TV channel claimed to have aired a programme connected to the death of his wife. The suit, filed through advocate Gaurav Gupta, had denounced the news, claiming that the recordings were released in a sensational manner so as to appease the viewers and had created a non-existing controversy by maligning his public life and image. It had said that the police was probing the matter and had also lodged an FIR.
Sunanda was found dead in a suite of a five star hotel in South Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014