BCCL (owner of Times Now Channel) had filed a case against Republic TV and Arnab Goswami alleging theft and infringement of intellectual property.
On May 26, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Manmohan had passed an order restraining both the channels from broadcasting or publishing the day-to-day proceedings of the case. They were only allowed to reproduce the court order.
However, it is alleged in the contempt petition that the plaintiffs to the suit have published an article in their newspaper Times of India pertaining to the proceedings of the case. The same has been circulated through their website as well.
The article, it is claimed, gave the impression that the plaintiffs-contemnors secured some relief from the Court. The petition also states that Times had maligned Republic,
“…by publishing coloured information pertaining to the sub-judice proceedings, giving the general public at large the impression that the Court had issued favorable orders to the detriment of the Petitioner, with the intention of maligning and tarnishing his image.
This was in spite of the express observation of this Hon’ble Court that the Respondents herein had brought no document on record to show that the impugned audio tapes were part of their data base.”
The petition was filed by Phoenix Legal, through Partners Saket Shukla, Mrinal Ojha, Trinath Tadakamalla and Debarshi Dutta.
Appearing for the Times Group, Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayyar, expressing regret, submitted that the publishing of the said article was an error and happened due to a communication gap.
The Court directed the contemnors to publish the order in question in their newspaper within 3 days. However, an irked Justice Manmohan observed that both the parties should bring down the temperature. He said,
“There is scope for everyone in this profession.”
He also took a pot shot at Republic TV saying,
“The more people attack you, the more publicity you will get.”
Republic has now asked the High Court to restrain the Times Group from reporting the case till the disposal of the suit. It has also sought a direction to make the alleged contemnors publish an article in ToI, “apologizing for deliberately misreporting and misleading the general public about the outcome of the proceedings…” It has also asked for exemplary costs in its favour.