The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered release of Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and other co-accused on interim bail on a bond of Rs 50,000 each in an abetment to suicide case. Saying that the High Court erred in rejecting the application for grant of interim bail to Goswami, the top court said HCs were not doing enough in matters where personal liberty is denied.
“SC is unhappy that HCs, which are constitutional courts, are not doing enough in matters where personal liberty is denied…,” Justice D Y Chandrachud said. “If this court were not to interfere today, we are travelling on a path of destruction of personal liberty undeniably”. He further said, “If state govt’s target individuals in this manner, let’s send out a message that SC is there.”
Appearing before the court for Goswami, advocate Harish Salve said that Maharashtra Police seeking custodial interrogation of Goswami was nothing but a smokescreen to teach him 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,” Salve said.
According to Live Law, Salve argued that Goswami was arrested on the basis of a three-year-old FIR. “That too during the Diwali week and then he is transferred from Taloja Jail,” he said adding, “There is no doubt about what they (state government) are trying to do.”
He also alleged that the power to re-investigate is being wrongly used by the Maharashtra government. Arguing that overlay of malice and fact, abuse and conduct of state power is not something that happens on a daily basis, he said, “We’re past FIR stage. FIR was lodged in May 2018 & after this matter was probed. Power to re-investigation wrongly used,” Salve said.