The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that the report pertaining to controversial taped conversation of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia with others including that of Ratan Tata, ex- chairman of Tata group, submitted by CBI should be kept in a sealed cover.
The three-judge bench headed by Justice H L Dattu asked the top court registry "not to open it till its further order."
The bench, also comprising J S Khehar and R K Agarwal, decided to hear the plea of Ratan Tata separately from that of the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation(CPIL).
Tata's counsel senior advocate Harish Salve alleged that recording of such conversation is against right to privacy.
The authorities should reveal only the relevant portion of the conversation which is of the public interest.
The "loose conversation" should be deleted as revealing the private talk is against right to privacy, the senior lawyer said. Even the press has no right to publish such private conversation, he said.
Accepting his submission, the bench said first the court will hear his plea raising three issues -- right to privacy vis-a-vis government, right to privacy vis-a-vis press and right to information.
After hearing Tata's arguments, the court decided to hear the NGO's plea.
Meanwhile, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for NGO said the whole telephonic conversation between Radia and top politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen including Tata show the criminality of some people.
"The court should see how cabinet formation, policy matters and other things were influenced by corporate lobbyist on behalf of some entities. If this conversation has criminality, which needs to be probed," Bhushan said.
The court fixed August 26, 27, and 28 for further hearing of the matter.
Filing a plea in October last year, Tata had told the court that the taped conversation was leaked to media because of corporate rivalry.conversations --first from August 20, 2008 for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order in May same year.
The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia's phone on a complaint to the finance minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore.
The government had recorded 180 days of Radia's conversations – first from August 20, 2008 for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order in May same year.