The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami who was arrested by Mumbai Police last week in connection with a 2018 abetment to suicide case. The court also asked the high courts to exercise their jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty.
The bench, headed by Justice Chandrachud, granted Arnab Goswami and two other accused interim bail on a bond of Rs 50,000. The bench directed the Commissioner of Police to ensure the order is followed immediately.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve represented Arnab Goswami and argued that the power to re-investigate was being wrongly used.
"We are well past the FIR stage. The FIR was lodged in 2018, May 5; after this matter was investigated. The power to re-investigation has been wrongly used," Salve was quoted by Live Law as saying.
Salve argued "there was no abetment" case that could made out against Arnab Goswami. Live Law reported, "Salve read averments which say that Anvay Naik murdered his mother. His mother wrote a nasty letter to Arnab in angst and financial distress."
Salve told the Supreme Court about all the cases filed against Arnab Goswami and Republic TV reporters and claimed no offence had been made out in any of them.
Salve was quoted by Live Law as asking was Arnab a "terrorist? Is there a murder change on him?". Salve added the Bombay High Court had made a "gross mistake".
Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee expressed concern over state governments targeting “individuals on the basis of ideology, difference of opinion” and said that they must realise there is an apex court to protect liberty of citizens.
The apex court observed that Indian democracy is “extraordinarily resilient” and the Maharashtra government must ignore all this. “Whatever be his ideology, least I don’t even watch his channel but if in this case constitutional court’s do not interfere today, we are travelling the path of destruction undeniably,” Justice Chandrachud said, adding, “the point is can you deny personal liberty of a person on these allegations”.
“We are seeing case after case where HCs are not granting bail and failing to protect personal liberty of people,” the court added.