SC bars sting ops using illegal taps
The Court passed an order, restraining the media from printing or displaying any material obtained by illegally tapping anyone's phones.india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 22:00 IST
IN AN unprecedented move, the Supreme Court on Monday passed an absolute gag order, restraining the print and the electronic media from printing or displaying any material obtained by illegally tapping anyone's phones, including that of Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh.
"We direct that electronic/print media should not publish, display the unauthorised and illegal telephone tapes (allegedly containing Amar Singh's conversations) till the matter is further heard and guidelines issued by this court," said a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal.
"This will apply regarding tapping of anyone's phone." This rules out any sting operation by the media, involving tapping of a public figure's phone lines. Spycams are still on though.
The court ignored objections by counsel Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of the common man, on the public's right to know and the media's right to inform on matters of public interest.
The order was delivered when Amar Singh's counsel Mukul Rohtagi prayed for a specific bar on the airing of the tapes as it had been obtained by illegally tapping Singh's phone.