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Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court of India.

SC reserves order on quashing of FIR against Arnab Goswami

  • The bench granted Goswami interim protection from any coercive action until an order is pronounced
  • The order is likely to be pronounced before 16 May and the court shall consider transferring the probe to CBI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a writ petition filed by Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV, seeking quashing of the FIR registered by Mumbai police against for allegedly stoking communal tension through his show about the gathering of migrants in Bandra.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah granted Goswami interim protection from any coercive action until an order is pronounced.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, argued that the various FIRs filed against Goswami were not only identical in nature but were filed by members of the same political party -- Congerss.

Goswami, in his plea, had claimed that the FIR registered by the Mumbai police was "politically motivated" and meant to harass him. He sought directions for transferring of his cases to a central independent agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), claiming that the police was biased against him.

The order is likely to be pronounced before 16 May and the court shall consider the plea for transferring the probe to an independent investigative agency.

The two-judge bench observed that the petitioner could have approached the Bombay high court for quashing of the FIR or seeking anticipatory bail.

Referring to the 24 April order, when Goswami was granted interim protection against several FIRs, Justice Chandrachu said the court had intervened once then but an environment where a person in particular is exempted from the normal course of proceedings should not be created.

In a separate case, several FIRs were registered against Goswami in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, Punjab, and West Bengal for his alleged hate speech and defamatory comments against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in connection with the Palghar lynching incident.

On 24 April, the apex court had stayed all related FIRs, barring the one which was registered in Nagpur. The Mumbai Police commissioner had also been directed to ensure Goswami's safety.

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