Outlook opposes Tata petition on Radia tapes

Tata Chief Ratan Tata`s plea for stopping further publication of his conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia has been opposed in the SC by the newsmagazine `Outlook`.

Last Updated: Feb 01, 2011, 00:11 AM IST

New Delhi: Tata Chief Ratan Tata`s plea for stopping further publication of his conversation with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia has been opposed in the Supreme Court by the newsmagazine `Outlook` which contended that making them public will expose the "baneful influence" of corporate sector in governance.

"All these matters which are disclosed in conversations relates to issue of good governance and baneful influence of the corporate sector on democratic institutions and people have a right to know how corporates are behaving," the magazine said in its response to the notice issued to it.

It questioned the maitainability of the petition by Tata in which he had contended that the leakage of tapes amounts to infringement of his fundamental Right to Life, which includes Right to Privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The magazine said the industrialist himself has brought the issue in public domain by writing an open letter to industrialist-turned Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar and giving interview to a TV channel.

"These issues were put by him (Tata) in the public domain," the affidavit filed through Outlook`s counsel Anup Bhambani said.

The magazine said the conversations related to the companies of Radia and Tata Group which Tata has not disclosed in the petition and in the supplementary affidavit filed by him.

Outlook alleged that Tata was trying to give a private litigation the shape of public interest litigation.
It said the conversations were not purely private in nature and even if there were any private conversations, the public interest involved in them outweigh the private interest.

Tata had moved the apex court seeking a probe into the leakage of the tapes of his private conversations with Radia.

In his petition, he has sought action against those involved in the leakage of the tapes alleging that such an act amounts to infringement of his fundamental right to life, which includes right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Tata has contended since Radia`s phone was tapped for the purposes of alleged tax evasion, the tapes cannot be used for any other purpose.

Tata has argued that making public his conversation with Radia also violates his Right to Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Tata`s petition filed on November 29 last sought an interim relief that steps should be taken to prevent online portals and electronic media from publishing material which had been "illegally" and "unlawfully" obtained by them.

The petition has also asked the apex court to give a direction to the government and its probe agencies to "retrieve" and "recover" the leaked tapes.

PTI