NGO invokes public interest in making public Amar`s tape

Citing WikiLeaks, an NGO on Friday sought complete diclosure of the controversial tapped conversation of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh with top corporate honchos, politicians and bollywood stars.

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2011, 20:15 PM IST

New Delhi: Citing WikiLeaks, an NGO on Friday
sought complete diclosure of the controversial tapped
conversation of Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh with top corporate
honchos, politicians and bollywood stars.

If Wikileaks can make American government`s documents
public then why Singh`s conversation cannot brought in public
domain, asked Prashant Bhushan, counsel for NGO Centre for
Public Interest Litigation.

He submitted that most of the tapped conversation
of Singh was related with functioning of different
institutions of our country and it is the right of
the citizen to know it.

"Very few of the tapped conversation is private in
nature and most of it are public in nature. Some of it is
related to awarding contract to corporate houses and
judicial appointments. Every person has a right to know how
public authority functions," Bhushan said before a bench
comprising Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly.

He also said there are conversations, the CD of which
is annexed with the petition, concerning "bench hunting" and
making some remarks about a judge of the Allahabad High Court.

He submitted that the apex court should vacate its gag
order which was ordered by former Chief Justice YK Sabharwal
in 2006 on the broadcast and publication of Singh`s
conversation which was illegaly tapped by Reliance Infocomm.

"WikiLeaks had got all the government documents
illegally and made public by putting them on its website. No
body is trying to restrain it from doing so," he said adding
that the way of recording such conversations may not be proper
but if the conversations revealed illegal and shady deals then
it was in public interest to expose these.

"Invasion of privacy cannot be a ground on which
injunction can be granted for not publishing material related
to conduct and behaviour of a public authority," he said.

The apex court had passed the gag order after Singh
had knocked at the doors of Supreme Court in January 2006
seeking a judicial probe into the whole incident of tapping.

Terming the unauthorised tapping of telephone of any
person as a "very serious matter affecting the privacy of an
individual",the apex court had on February 27, 2006, passed
the stay order barring the media from publication and telecast
of contents of the tapped conversations.

The court had also issued notices to eight telephone
companies, both in government and private sector, to make them
parties to the petition by Singh.

PTI