Republic TV files contempt petition against Times Group

NEW DELHI: The Republic TV--Times Now war took yet another turn with Arnab Goswami’s channel filing a contempt petition against the Times Group alleging violation of court orders in the ongoing civil suit.

Earlier, in the case by Bennett Coleman Company Ltd (owner of Times Now Channel) against Republic TV and Goswami alleging theft and infringement of intellectual property, Justice Manmohan had on 26 May passed an order restraining both the channels from broadcasting or publishing the day-to-day proceedings of the case. They were only allowed to reproduce the court order.

However, Republic TV has alleged in the contempt petition that BCCL have published an article in their newspaper Times of India pertaining to the proceedings of the case. The same has been circulated through their website as well.

The Court had directed BCCL to publish the order in question in their newspaper within three days. However, an irked Justice Manmohan observed that both the parties should bring down the temperature. He said, “There is scope for everyone in this profession.”

Referring to Republic TV, he observed: “The more people attack you, the more publicity you will get.”

The petition says the article gave the impression that BCCL secured some relief from the Court. The petition also states that Times had maligned Republic, “…by publishing coloured information pertaining to the sub judice proceedings, giving the general public at large the impression that the Court had issued favourable orders to the detriment of the petitioner, with the intention of maligning and tarnishing his image. This was in spite of the express observation of this Court that BCCL had brought no document on record to show that the impugned audio tapes were part of their data base.”

Appearing for the Times Group, senior Advocate Rajiv Nayyar expressing regret submitted that the publishing of the said article was an error and happened due to a communication gap.

Republic TV has now asked the high court to restrain the Times Group from reporting the case till the disposal of the suit. It has also sought a direction to make the alleged contemnors publish an article in ToI, “apologising for deliberately misreporting and misleading the general public about the outcome of the proceedings…” It has also asked for exemplary costs in its favour.

The Republic TV petition was filed by Phoenix Legal, through Partners Saket Shukla, Mrinal Ojha, Trinath Tadakamalla and Debarshi Dutta.

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