Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Court vacates stay on publishing Amar Singh’s telephone tape contents

The Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted its gag order on the media restraining it from broadcasting and publishing contents of the taped conversations of former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh with top politicians and Bollywood stars.

A bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly dismissed Mr. Singh’s petition and vacated its interim order passed on February 27, 2006 restraining the media from making contents of the conversation public.

The bench also said that there has been suppression of facts by the politician before the court in the case.

The court, however, said the politician may file a case against Reliance Infocomm for illegally tapping his phone.

Justice A.K. Ganguly, who wrote the judgement for the bench which also included Justice G.S. Singhvi, said that no case is made out against the Centre and its authorities as they were not involved in tapping Mr. Singh’s telephone.

The bench had reserved its verdict on Mr. Singh’s petition on March 29 after hearing him and an NGO, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which has opposed his plea and had sought a direction for making public all his tapped conversations.

The apex court had on February 27, 2006, restrained the electronic and the print media from broadcasting and publishing the contents of the tapped conversations of all, including those of Singh.

Mr. Singh, who was the Samajwadi Party general secretary at the time when his telephones were tapped, had earlier accused the Congress through its President and private telecom operator Reliance Infocomm, of being behind the tapping but had later withdrawn his allegations against the Congress.

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