Whether TV journalist Arnab Goswami has had a history of broadcasting incorrect and unsubstantiated news reports? This is one of the several issues framed by the Delhi High Court in the Rs 2-crore civil defamation suit initiated by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor against Goswami and his channel Republic TV for running “irresponsible new stories and news debates” between May 8 and May 11, 2017 on the issue of death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor.
Justice Manmohan has framed 12 issues in the suit and directed Tharoor and Goswami to file their list of witnesses within two weeks.
Tharoor would be filing his evidence in four weeks thereafter.
The matter is now listed before Joint Registrar Rakesh Pandit on May 10 for cross-examination of Tharoor’s witnesses.
Justice Manmohan would be monitoring the evidence on August 31.
Tharoor filed the civil suit on May 26 last year seeking damages and compensation of Rs 2 crore from Goswami and the channel for making defamatory remarks against him while airing news related to his wife Sunanda’s death.
Tharoor also prayed that they be restrained from running misleading news items on his wife’s death and from using the phrase ‘Murder of Sunanda Pushkar’ as it is yet to be established if her death was murder.
He also prayed that the channel be restrained from running any show relating to his wife’s death.
The high court, however, had refused to grant any such injunction in favour of the MP but asked Goswami to scale down.
Here are the issues framed by Justice Manmohan in the matter with the consent of the parties:
- Whether the news reports and broadcasts carried out by the defendants (Goswami and Republic TV) on the news channel ‘Republic TV’ between 8th May, 2017 and 11th May, 2017 pertaining to the death of plaintiff’s (Tharoor) wife were defamatory to the plaintiff?
- What is the rule in India for grant of injunction in defamation matters?
- Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the permanent and prohibitory injunction restraining the defendants from maligning and defaming the plaintiff in any manner?
- Whether the impugned statements and news reports of the defendants lowered the eminent reputation of the plaintiff attained in India and abroad before right-thinking members of the society and people of average intelligence?
- Whether the statements made by the defendants were actuated by malice against the plaintiff, i.e., with actual knowledge of falsity of the statements or with reckless disregard for the true state of affairs?
- Whether defendant No.1 has continuously been involved in broadcasting unconfirmed and one-sided news reports against the plaintiff?
- Whether defendant No.1 has had a history of broadcasting incorrect and unsubstantiated news reports?
- Whether the defendants have adhered to the established journalistic norms and standards and not violated any such established norms?
- Whether the defence of provocation and personal animosity are made out in the present case?
- Whether the statements in the broadcast aired between 08th May, 2017 and 11th May, 2017 on Republic TV, if made by the defendants, were true or justified in the domain of fair comment or qualified privilege and if so, to what effect?
- Whether the plaintiff is entitled to compensation and damages as prayed for in the suit?