SC grants two weeks protection to Arnab Goswami from any coercive action
New Delhi, Apr 24: The Supreme Court has stayed the FIRs lodged against Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV.
He had challenged the FIRs filed against him in the states of Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said that no coercive action should be taken against him for two weeks.
The court intends to protect the petitioner for a period of two weeks from today and permit him to move anticipatory bail application before the trial court or High Court. For a period of two weeks, the petitioner shall be protected against any coercive steps in relation to the FIRs arising out of the telecast that took place on April 21.
"Save and except for FIR registered at Nagpur, (FIR number 238 of 2020 dated April 22, 2020, registered at Nagpur, further proceedings arising out of and relating to FIRs and complaints listed out petition shall remain stayed until further orders," the court also said.
The Bench also said that if there are any other FIRs filed thereafter arising out of the related or present case, it shall also remain stayed until further orders. The petitioner must cooperate with the investigation and the Mumbai Police Commissioner is directed to provide protection, the Bench further noted.
Goswami contended that the FIRs were in response to the broadcast made by his challenger linking Congress to the Palghar incident. He said that the FIRs were lodged at the instance of the Indian National Congress to harass and intimidate him.
Contrary to the tenor of allegations in the complaints filed against the Petitioner, the Petitioner has time and again encouraged and used the platform of its channel to foster communal harmony, especially in the present critical time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the Petitioner has been strongly opposed to any propagation of any communalisation by various other political parties for their own vested interests, it was further contended.