Supreme Court Grants Three Weeks’ Protection From Any Coercive Action To Arnab Goswami
The Supreme Court provided protection from any coercive action for three weeks to Arnab Goswami after the editor-in-chief of Republic TV approached the court, challenging the multiple first information reports filed against him that accused him of defaming Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud stayed all but one FIR against Goswami, implying the investigation will continue. The FIR was registered in Nagpur but would be transferred and investigated by the Mumbai police. The court also issued a notice to the central government.
Several FIRs were registered against Goswami in various states, including Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and West Bengal, in connection to a show anchored by him on Republic TV on April 21. Congress leaders, including chief ministers of Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, took to Twitter to voice their criticism.
Goswami, in his petition, said he moved the apex court as it would not be possible for him to individually approach each court, given the number of complaints and FIRs registered against him. These FIRs, he said, were filed at the behest of a political party to muzzle the fundamental right to free speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
“The complaints have been filed and FIRs registered with the sole intention to wreak vengeance against the petitioner on account of personal animosity of the chief of the Congress against the petitioner,” he said in his petition, which has been reviewed by BloombergQuint. The allegations were based on mere conjectures and complete misreading of only a miniscule part of the April 21 broadcast, Goswami told the court.
He also requested the court to stay further FIRs from being registered based on the same show. The Supreme Court will again hear the case after eight weeks.