SC dumps FIR against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami, extends his bail
30 November 2020
The Supreme has pulled up the Bombay High Court and the state police over a cnococted case against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and the high court’s failure to protect the victim’s fundamental rights.
The apex court said prima facie evaluation of FIR about alleged non-payment of dues driving a businessman to commit suicide didn't establish a charge of abetment to suicide against Goswami.
A bench of Justice Chandrachood, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee said courts must ensure that state didn't use criminal law as a tool to harass citizens and jeopardise their liberties.
It said the Bombay High Court failed to take a prima facie view of the FIR and the nature of accusation against Goswami and erred in denying him bail.
The Bombay High Court abdicated its duty by allowing the state government of Maharashtra to frame Goswami in a false case, the judges observed.
The top court ordered that the interim bail granted to Goswami and two other accused - Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda - on 1 November would remain operational until the Bombay High Court disposed of their plea for quashing of the FIR.
The interim bail will remain in force for four weeks after the high court's order and if the high court rejects their plea, they can move the top court.
“A prima facie evaluation of the FIR does not establish the ingredients of the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC," the SC bench said in its 55-page verdict.
The Supreme Court had on 11 November granted interim bail to Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case, saying it would be a travesty of justice if personal liberty of a person was curtailed like this.
“We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the application for the grant of interim bail, it had said.
In its interim order, the top court had ordered the Maharashtra authorities to release the journalist forthwith.
If state governments target individuals, they must realise that there is the Supreme Court to protect the liberty of citizens, it had noted.
Expressing serious concern over state governments targeting some individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion, the top court had said they must realise that there is the Supreme Court to protect the liberty of citizens.
Goswami and the two other accused had challenged the Bombay High Court’s 8 November order denying them interim bail in connection with the 2018 alleged abetment of the suicide of an interior designer and had asked them to approach the sessions court.