Industrialist Ratan Tata on Thursday requested the Supreme Court to restrain the media from publishing and broadcasting unverified conversations of individuals, contending the right to privacy of a person cannot be violated in the garb of freedom of the press.
During arguments on Tata's petition seeking protection of his right to privacy in the wake of publication and broadcast of his private conversations with lobbyist Niira Radia, senior counsel Harish Salve said: "The inflated notion of freedom of the press needs to be corrected. If it is allowed to publish such conversation, then paparazzi type of media would develop."
He complained that government was not giving serious consideration and attention to the issue. "There may be other CDs too which can be leaked and brought in the public domain. There is a lackadaisical approach on part of the government," Salve told a bench of justice GS Singhvi and Justice A K Ganguly.
As Salve said the court might have to lay down guidelines for the media, senior advocate Anil B Divan, representing magazine Outlook that published the transcripts of Radia tapes, interrupted him to say that Tata was attempting to convert his private petition into a PIL.
Vehemently opposing Salve's submissions, Divan told the court that Tata needed to prove how his right to privacy was violated by publication of which part of the tapes.
The government should have taken action immediately after the transcripts of the conversation, intercepted by the government agency between Radia and others were published in the media for the first time on April 28, last year. Reacting to Salve's submission that the government's had a right to tap phones but it was its duty to protect such conversation from being leaked. The arguments would continue on Wednesday.