Outlook opposes Tata petition on Radia tapes

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Tata Chief Ratan Tata''s pleafor stopping further publication of his conversation withcorporate lobbyist Niira Radia has been opposed in the SupremeCourt by the newsmagazine ''Outlook'' which contended thatmaking them public will expose the "baneful influence" ofcorporate sector in governance.

"All these matters which are disclosed inconversations relates to issue of good governance and banefulinfluence of the corporate sector on democratic institutionsand people have a right to know how corporates are behaving,"the magazine said in its response to the notice issued to it.

It questioned the maitainability of the petition byTata in which he had contended that the leakage of tapesamounts to infringement of his fundamental Right to Life,which includes Right to Privacy under Article 21 of theConstitution.

The magazine said the industrialist himself hasbrought the issue in public domain by writing an open letterto industrialist-turned Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekharand giving interview to a TV channel.

"These issues were put by him (Tata) in the publicdomain," the affidavit filed through Outlook''s counsel AnupBhambani said.

The magazine said the conversations related to thecompanies of Radia and Tata Group which Tata has notdisclosed in the petition and in the supplementary affidavitfiled by him.

Outlook alleged that Tata was trying to give aprivate litigation the shape of public interest litigation.

It said the conversations were not purely private innature and even if there were any private conversations, thepublic interest involved in them outweigh the privateinterest.

Tata had moved the apex court seeking a probe into theleakage of the tapes of his private conversations with Radia.

In his petition, he has sought action against thoseinvolved in the leakage of the tapes alleging that such an actamounts to infringement of his fundamental right to life,which includes right to privacy under Article 21 of theConstitution.

Tata has contended since Radia''s phone was tapped forthe purposes of alleged tax evasion, the tapes cannot be usedfor any other purpose.

Tata has argued that making public his conversationwith Radia also violates his Right to Speech and Expressionunder Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Tata''s petition filed on November 29 last sought aninterim relief that steps should be taken to prevent onlineportals and electronic media from publishing material whichhad been "illegally" and "unlawfully" obtained by them.

The petition has also asked the apex court to give adirection to the government and its probe agencies to"retrieve" and "recover" the leaked tapes.

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