The Supreme Court on Friday, April 24, has granted three weeks protection to Arnab Goswami from arrest, relating to the FIRs filed against him on his allegations against Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The FIRs were widely filed against Goswami in the states and union territories of Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, as well as in Jammu & Kashmir.
Supreme Court shields Goswami's arrest
The Republic TV Editor-in-Chief and TV anchor was recently attacked by two bike-borne goons, who were later claimed to be Congress youth workers. He was returning home with his wife from the studios when the two men attacked his car. The couple had escaped from injuries.
The Supreme court bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah has sentenced 'no coercive actions to be taken against him for three weeks.'
The court has also issued a notice in the plea filed by the TV journalist that sought a stay on any action that may be taken against him on the basis of these FIRs.
The judges took the hearing of the matter through a video conferencing post the ex parte stay on action Goswami seeked.
"Court intends to protect the petitioner for a period of three weeks from today and permit him to move anticipatory bail application before the trial court or high court," said the statement. "Save and except for FIR registered at Nagpur, further proceedings arising out of and relating to FIRs and complaints listed out petition shall remain stayed until further orders," it added.
Mukul Rohatgi appears for Goswami
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Goswami before the Court. He submitted that his client had asked some questions regarding the Congress President's silence on the Plaghar incident. He had claimed that the Congress party would be the first to raise the issue had the persons from minority communities got killed.
It was after this program, says Rohatgi, that the complaints from various states were filed against Goswami. He also underlined that all these states that lodged the complaint were governed by the Congress party and were hence a counter action to the alleged defamation against their party President.
Kapil Sibal against Goswami
Meanwhile, senior advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for the state of Maharashtra submitted that Goswami's statements during the program were highly provocative. He communalised the Plaghar lynching incident, making vicious and tarnishing comments against Sonia Gandhi, said Sibal.
He also termed the petition as 'fake freedom of speech.'
Goswami, on the other hand, had asserted in his petition that he has not promoted any means of communal disharmony on his news program on the Palghar incident. It also stated that the allegations and complaints in FIRs are mere 'conjectures and surmises'.
The Press Council of India had condemned the attack over Goswami and his wife on Wednesday early morning. It had also issued a statement that "violence was not the answer even against bad journalism."