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Court foils DIAL bid to gag Hindustan Times

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 12, 2013
First Published: 00:52 IST(12/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:27 IST(12/6/2013)

The Delhi high court on Tuesday allowed the Hindustan Times to publish news items based on Comptroller and Auditor General's report into Dial’s functioning. Dial, which operates Delhi’s IGI airport, had, on June 5 obtained an ex-parte stay order restraining this newspaper from publishing its investigative reports.

The court also asked the airport operator to pay Rs. 20,000 as costs for concealing facts.

The court directed that the money be deposited with the prime minister's relief fund.

Earlier, HT had, on June 1, sent Dial a list of 20 questions based on the CAG report into its functioning.

Media cannot be restrained from reporting, analysing and commenting upon CAG reports, the court ruled. Such reporting by the media could not be construed as an intrusion in the proceedings of Parliament's public accounts committee, which is currently examining the CAG report, it added.

Describing Parliament as "a constitutional functionary in its own right", justice Manmohan Singh said under the Constitution Parliament had ample powers to proceed against any contemner for obstructing its proceedings and courts could not assume that role in the context of breach of parliamentary privilege. He took into account the fact that the CAG report had already been published.

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