The matter regarding Arnab Goswami was pertaining to “liberty and freedom of media” and was listed urgently in view of the “order of competent authority”, said the Supreme Court while pulling up lawyer Reepal Kansal for raising “baseless and reckless allegations” against the court’s Registry.
“During such a hard time, it was not expected of the petitioner who is an officer of this Court, to file such a petition to demoralize the Registry of this Court instead of recognizing the task undertaken by them even during pandemic and lockdown period,” the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer said imposing a “token” fine of Rs 100 on the lawyer.
Advocate approached SC accusing the Apex court of bias in the listing of cases by the registry officials
Advocate Reepal Kansal had approached the apex court accusing bias in the listing of cases by the registry officials. He had claimed that preference is given to cases filed by influential lawyers or petitioners, law firms, etc and pointed to three recent petitions filed by him which he said were listed late.
Kansal had said to the court that while his petition was listed late, a plea by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was given urgent hearing.
Tearing into the lawyer for his “baseless and reckless” allegations, the SC pointed out that there were defects in all the three case filed by him. Goswami’s matter “pertained to liberty and freedom of media” the apex court maintained, furthering: “We see, in general, it has become a widespread practice to blame the Registry for no good reasons.”
It is pertinent to note here that the Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan had also lamented over the urgency of SC to give an urgent hearing to the petition filed by Arnab Goswami and accused the apex court of giving special treatment to the Republic TV chief.
Almost ignoring how the SC had scheduled to hear a plea filed by himself against an FIR within hours of filing the petition, the controversial lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has a history of propagating fake news, in his tweet claimed that the lightning speed with which Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami’s petition was listed and heard by the apex court was nothing but madness.
Last month, SC granted protection of 3 weeks to Arnab Goswami and stayed FIRs filed by Congress party
Last month, the Supreme Court had granted three-week interim protection to the Republic TV editor-in-chief against multiple FIRs filed against him by the Congress party in various states. The Apex court also directed to merged all FIRs into one which will be investigated in Mumbai, where the Republic TV Editor-In-Chief is based, and stayed all the FIRs till further orders. The petition filed by Arnab Goswami multiple FIRs had been lodged against him in several states, most of which are Congress-ruled.
Ordering that no coercive action can be taken against Goswami during the three weeks interim period, the apex court had also directed the Mumbai Police Commissioner to provide security to Arnab Goswami and Republic TV.
Vendetta against Arnab Goswami
Harish Salve, while presenting Arnab Goswami’s case in SC had said that hat it was a case where one political party was targeting a journalist, adding that all the complainants are members of one political party which has a problem with the central government, and ‘they want to teach this journalist a lesson’.
Mumbai Police questioned the journalist for over 12 hours
On April 27, 2020, Arnab Goswami was questioned by Mumbai Police for over 12 hours for questioning Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi’s silence over Palghar Sadhu lynching. He was questioned after the Congress party filed more than 150 FIRs against him in various states of the country. The Supreme Court had merged all the FIRs into one and transferred to Mumbai. A week later, a fresh FIR was filed by Raza Academy.
Bombay High Court stayed FIR against Arnab Goswami
Last week, in a big victory for the journalist, the Bombay High Court had stayed the FIRs filed against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami by the Mumbai Police. The Court observed that Mumbai Police had failed to demonstrate any prima facie case against him. The Bombay High Court has ordered that no coercive actions be taken against the journalist.