On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court refused to grant any relief in a writ petition filed by two Congress party members who sought a ban on Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.
The bench headed by Justice Prithviraj Chavan while hearing the petition filed by Bhai Jagtap, a Member of Legislative Council from Congress and Suraj Thakur, State Vice President of Maharashtra Youth Congress, stated that the petitioners could approach the Supreme Court for interim relief.
The petitioners also sought registration of FIR against Arnab, his channel, and its management for spreading communal hatred during a telecast relating to the Palghar mob lynching incident. The petition cited 30 different comments made during the shows telecast on Republic TV as well as its Hindi version Republic Bharat TV, wherein defamatory statements about Congress President Sonia Gandhi have been made. Further, the petition also stated that anchors have sought to give a ‘religious color’ to the Palghar mob lynching incident where three Hindu religious leaders, who were on their way to Silvassa were lynched by local residents in Gadakchinchale village of Palghar district, on the suspicion that they were thieves.
However, Justice Chavan asserted that “the matter is before the Supreme Court and the investigation is pending against Goswami, and since the Republic TV has also been named in the complaint, we can’t say that the management is not going to be investigated”.
Goswami is already being investigated by Mumbai police concerning multiple FIRs filed against him in different states for his channel’s coverage of the Palghar mob lynching incident. On 24th April, the court granted Goswami three weeks’ interim protection from arrest while staying all but one FIR against him, which was later extended by the apex court, till it passes an order on his pleas to transfer the investigation of the FIRs filed against him with regards to Palghar mob-lynching and Bandra migrant gatherings, to the Central Bureau of Investigation.