Source : Indlaw
The Supreme Court today lifted its five-year-old gag order restraining print and electronic media from publishing and broadcasting contents of taped telephone conversations of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh with politicians and Bollywood stars.
Dismissing Singh's petition, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly vacated the apex court's interim order passed on February 27, 2006 restraining the media from making contents of the taped conversation public.
Singh, then general secretary of Samajwadi Party, through a petition in 2006, had sought and got restraint order against publication of contents of his telephonic conversation he alleged had been taped illegally.
He had earlier accused the Congress through its President Sonia Gandhi and private telecom operator Reliance Infocomm, of being behind the tapping but had later withdrawn his allegations against the Congress.
But a non-government organisation (NGO), the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, through its lawyer Prashant Bhushan, had pleaded for publication of the taped contents, saying it was the right of people to know the alleged illegal dealings of public figures in the discharge of their public functions. The PIL by the NGO said this right of the people was guaranteed by the Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution and also upheld by the apex court.
Justice AK Ganguly, who wrote the judgement for the bench, said no case is made out against the Centre and its authorities as they were not involved in tapping Singh's telephone.
The court, however, said Singh was at liberty to file a case against Reliance Infocomm (now Reliance Communications) for illegally tapping his phone.
The bench had reserved its verdict on Singh's petition on March 29 after hearing him and the NGO, which had opposed his plea and sought a direction for making public all his taped conversations.
Find the entire Judgment here.