New Delhi: The two weekly news magazines which published the leaked Niira Radia tapes, Open and Outlook, have been made parties to the privacy petition of Ratan Tata in the Supreme Court.
The Apex court said today it was necessary to hear the magazines’ side before it could pass any orders on Tata’s plea.
“Since we are examining the issue, we should hear the other side,” the bench comprising Justices G. S. Singhvi and Ashok Kumar Ganguly told Harish Salve, Tata’s counsel.
The next hearing is on 13 December.
Tata has named the home ministry (which authorised the phone tapping), the director general of income tax (who tapped Radia’s phone), the CBI and the ministry of information and broadcasting as respondents in the case.
They have been given 10 days to respond to Tata’s petition, which has ignited a debate on freedom of the press versus individual privacy.
“We have to balance these interests. In our country, openess is a must. But it cannot give rise to tabloid journalism,” Salve argued.
He however, clarified that he did not want a “gag order” but only sought a direction to the government to protect the privacy and confidentiality of any phone call recordings, which it obtained through surveillance.