Supreme Court pulled up the Maharashtra government and showed immense displeasure against the Bombay High Court decision to decline the interim bail plea of Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami.
The apex court vacation bench comprising Justices Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee heard the bail plea filed by journalist Arnab Goswami. The bench stated, “High Courts are not doing enough where personal liberty is denied, If this court were not to interfere today, we are travelling on a path of destruction of personal liberty undeniably… If state govt’s target individuals in this manner, let’s send out a msg that SC is there.”
Justice Chandrachud asked senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Maharashtra government, whether there is any active encouragement or instigation in the case to constitute an abetment to suicide offence. “Otherwise look at the drastic consequences. We are dealing with personal liberty. India’s democracy is extraordinarily resilient and Maharashtra government must ignore all this (Arnab’s taunts on TV),” Chandrachud said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Arnab Goswami, called the Maharashtra government’s move merely a smokescreen to teach the journalist a lesson.
“Allegation (against Goswami) is about withholding money which can be ascertained from documents. What’s the need for custodial interrogation? It’s just a smokescreen to teach the man a lesson,” he added.
Advocate Salve also argued that the case against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief didn’t stand the basic ingredients required to establish the offence of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code. “For abetment, there must be direct and indirect act of commission of offense. If a person commits suicide in Maharashtra & blames govt, will CM be arrested? Need to apply proximity test to prove abetment to suicide case,” said Salve.