Plea seeking release of Amar Singh tapes in apex court

Friday, January 14, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh on a plea seeking vacation of the court’s 2006 order restraining the publication of the tapes of the former Samajwadi Party leader’s telephonic conversations.

An apex court bench of Justice G.S.Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly issued notice both on the Centre for Public Interest Litigation’s impleadment application and its plea for vacating the court order.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan said that it was the right of the people to know the illegal dealings of the public figures in discharge of their public function. The application said that this right of the people was guaranteed by the Article 19(1) (a) of the constitution and also upheld by the apex court.

“An injunction restraining the publication of such conversations, even if they have been illegally tapped, would go against Article 19(1)(a) by denying such right to the public,” the application said.

The CPIL said that continuing with the restraint order banning publication by the media of unauthorised and illegally recorded telephone tapped version in general is highly damaging to public interest and the fundamental right to know under the Constitution.

The application said that the CPIL was not seeking any invasion of the petitioner’s (Amar Singh) right to privacy and was only seeking publication of conversations relating to the public acts or policies between the petitioner and others in their public capacity.

The application said that it was not seeking the publication of the private conversation of Amar Singh with others.

In 2006, some of the telephonic conversations of Amar Singh were illegally tapped and were in circulation. The leader had moved the apex court and got a restraint order against their publication in media.

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