The Supreme Court of India on November 5 approved bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, who is presently in judicial custody for his assumed involvement in a 2018 abetment to suicide case. The Bench headed by Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee delivered the notice in an appeal filed by Goswami against the Bombay High Court order, which denied him interim bail in the 2018 case. The Bench held that the Bombay High Court was incorrect in denying Goswami interim bail on November 7. It thus directed for Arnab Goswami and the two other co-accused to be released immediately on a bond of Rs 50,000. The Superintendent of Police, Raigad, has been referred to ensure the order is followed immediately.
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed,
“If we don’t interfere in this case today, we will walk on a path of destruction. If left to me, I won’t watch the channel, and you may differ in ideology, but constitutional courts will have to protect such freedoms…”
At the start of today’s hearing, Justice Chandrachud jotted down that in the SLP filed by Goswami before the Apex Court; the habeas corpus plea was not advocated. Thus, only the issue of quashing the FIR remains, he said.
Appearing for Goswami, Senior Advocate Harish Salve sought to underscore the malice at the end of the State in taking legal action against his client. He took the Court through the FIR contents, highlighting that an “A Summary” report alluding to shutting down of the case was filed last year.
Making his case that there was no abetment to suicide, Salve ensued to show the Court that Goswami had paid the pending amount to Naik’s company, Concorde Designs. He asked: “The person was in financial difficulty and thereafter committed suicide, but how can it be abetment to suicide?“
He then pointed out that the Maharashtra Home Minister directed the police to reinvestigate the case without getting the A Summary report set aside by a judicial forum.
Salve then took the Court through the chain of events that led to the reopening of the case, referring to the previous FIRs lodged against Goswami. Reference was made to the flak received for his reportage on the Palghar and Bandra incidents and the breach of privilege motion issued by the Maharashtra Assembly.