Radia tape: SC asks govt to submit probe report
SC directed the Centre to place before it the report of the probe into the leakage of "classified documents/telephonic intercepts" of Niira Radia.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed
the Centre to place before it the report of the probe ordered
into the leakage of "classified documents/telephonic
intercepts" of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia`s conversations
with politicians, businessmen and journalists.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyay
asked Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising to place the
report before it by January 31, 2012, when it would take up
for final hearing Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata`s petition
seeking a ban on further publication of the tapped
"The issue is of substantial public importance," the
bench said referring to the petition.
The Centre had earlier told the court it was taking the
issue of leakage of seriously and on December 27, 2010, the
Ministry of Finance had appointed two senior officers to
inquire into the leakage.
"The government views the disclosure of such information
seriously and in this context, an inquiry has been ordered,"
the government had stated in an affidavit.
Counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Tata, urged the apex
court to lay down guidelines for the media to observe in
reporting such conversations.
He submitted that while the freedom of the press was
vital, an individual`s right to privacy was also equally
important and hence a balance has to be struck to avoid
conflict of interests.
The apex court had earlier decided to examine the issues
raised by Tata, including the questions of the right to
privacy and the right to freedom of speech and expression as
envisaged under the Constitution.
The court had on December 2 last issued notices to the
Centre and news magazines `Open` and `Outlook` which had
published some portions of the transcripts of Radia`s
conversations with several people including Tata.
The apex court had also issued notices to the Union Home
Secretary, CBI, the Income Tax Department and the Finance
Tata, in his petition, has said several parts of the
conversations were purely private in nature which were spoken
casually and could not be taken seriously.
He pleaded that the portals and the other news media
should be restrained from making his conversations public and
sought action against those involved in the leak of the tapes,
claiming it infringed his fundamental right to life and
privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution and freedom of
speech under Article 19(1)(a).
In the wake of spectrum allocation scam, which according
to CAG resulted in a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the state
exchequer, the media had published the taped conversations
that Radia had with various politicians, bureaucrats,
industrialists and journalists.