On Monday, the Supreme Court is expected to hear a petition filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the Bombay High Court’s 2020 decision to suspend the investigation into two FIRs filed against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.
The FIRs concern Goswami’s comments regarding Palghar lynchings and migrants gathering in large numbers in Bandra, Mumbai, during the Covid-induced lockdown.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli will be convened to hear the appeal filed by the Maharashtra government.
The Supreme Court observed on October 26, 2020, that some people are targeted with “greater intensity” and require more excellent protection.
In response to the high court’s decision to stay the police investigation against Goswami, Maharashtra’s government, led by Uddhav Thackeray, opposed this decision.
In response to the state’s appeal, the top court sought a response from Goswami and others.
Although Goswami had targeted Congress and its president, Sonia Gandhi, with his comments, the high court noted that he had not made any statements that would cause public disharmony or incite violence between different religious groups.
The high court had cited statements by the Supreme Court in its order that India’s freedom will remain safe as long as journalists can speak up without fear of reprisal. As a result of being chained to adhere to any particular position by the news media, free citizens cannot exist.
The high court ordered the police not to take any coercive action until it had disposed of the petition filed by Goswami seeking to quash the two FIRs.
As a result of the Supreme Court’s order, two FIRs against Goswami have been filed – one in Nagpur, which was later transferred to N M Joshi Marg in Mumbai, and another in Pydhonie.
One complaint was filed in Nagpur concerning a news program aired on the channel on April 21 concerning the Palghar incident, in which two religious leaders and their driver were lynched.
During the lockdown in Bandra, Goswami had mentioned migrants gathering near a mosque outside the Bandra railway terminus in the Pydhonie case, which was aired on Republic TV on April 29.
© The Deccan Era (P) Ltd