India TV received a major setback in court hearing of its legal suits seeking Rs. 30 lakh from its former Editorial Director Qamar W. Naqvi. The Delhi High Court (HC) had disposed of the arbitrator unilaterally pursued by India TV in the matter.
The matter is related to Naqvi’s controversial resignation from India TV just after Narendra Modi’s first TV interview (by Rajat Sharma) before general election 2014. The timing of his resignation created a furore inside and outside media industry and also raised serious concerns over the channel’s content credibility.
India TV, which initially accepted the resignation, asked Naqvi to serve a notice period of three months, failing which the channel filed a legal suit. The suit demanded Naqvi either to serve a three month notice period or pay the money i.e. thirty lakh.
Speaking to TEHELKA, Naqvi’s counsel Gopal Shankarnarayanan said, “His resignation was result of serious editorial differences.”
In one of the two hearings related to the matter, the Delhi HC replaced the arbitrator Justice Poonam Srivastva (requested by India TV) with Justice CK Mahajan, to which both parties had agreed.
“Eight of the nine prayers by Mr Sharma’s channel have been disposed by the honourable court. The last prayer seeks a stay on Mr Naqvi from making any defamatory statements against his former organization. Though, it does not carry any major legal weightage but we have conceded to this prayer,“ said Narayanan.
Interestingly, since the first hearing in the matter, in May 2014, neither India TV nor Rajat Sharma have filed a defamation case against the veteran journalist.
Qamar Naqvi was struggling for long because of editorial freedom limitations. In addition, he was not kept in the loop while finalizing the content, a job he was appointed for. On the day when he was asked to serve a notice period, his official e-mail account was frozen, which could only mean that the organization didn’t want him to deliver, sources said.
The matter has been disposed of from the Delhi HC and both parties in the case will meet the arbitrator justice CK Mahajan for further action in the matter.