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Abetment to suicide charge not established in FIR: Massive victory for Arnab Goswami as SC delivers scathing statements

"The Bombay High Court abdicated its constitutional duty as protector of liberty by failing to take prima facie view of the FIR", the SC noted. The apex court asserted that criminal laws should not become a tool for harassment of common citizens.

In a big relief to Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami, the Supreme Court on Friday said that prima facie evaluation of FIR lodged by Maharashtra police does not establish the abetment of suicide charge against him in the 2018 Anvay Naik suicide case.

On Friday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee pronounced their judgement giving detailed reasons for the interim bail to Arnab Goswami on November 11 in the 2018 Anvay Naik suicide case.

The Supreme Court said as Maharashtra police had failed to establish charges against Republic TV chief in the suicide case, it was necessary for them to grant bail to Arnab Goswami. The apex court said that there was prime facie no nexus between the FIR filed failed against Arnab Goswami and Section 306 (Abetment to Suicide) under IPC.

“It cannot be said that appellants had abetted the suicide of the head of the architectural firm…High Court said the justification to quash has to be exercised carefully. If the High Court was carrying a prima facie evaluation, then it could not have seen that there was no nexus between FIR and Section 306 IPC…”

Supreme Court slams Bombay HC for overlooking bail in the Arnab Goswami’s case

Slamming the Bombay High Court for its reluctance to grant bail to Arnab Goswami, the Supreme Court bench pointed out that the High Courts ought to take a final call on whether FIR should be quashed or not. The Bombay High Court abdicated its constitutional duty as protector of liberty by failing to take prima facie view of the FIR, the SC noted.

The apex court also observed that Bombay High Court has failed to do its duty by disabling itself from exercising its jurisdiction and added that the Bombay High Court should be circumspect in considering the facts of the case but should not close itself off when considering the denial of liberty of the citizen. The top court also said that the High Courts must exercise its power with caution.

Criminal law should not become a tool of harassment, bail is expression of humanness, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court also observed that the criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment of citizens.

Justice Chandrachud said that the remedy of bail is a solemn expression of humaneness in the justice system. “We have given expression to our anguish in the case where the citizen has approached the Court,” he added.

Justice Chandrachud also placed the figures of the National Judicial Data Grid regarding the number of bail applications which are pending. “The Chief Justice of every HC should utilise the data to ensure equitable access to justice. Liberty is not a gift for the few,” the Supreme Court Justice observed.

“There was a rule established by Justice Krishna Iyer which was “bail is rule and jail is exception.” High Courts get burdened. Chances of incarceration is huge and the accused languishes as undertrial,” Justice Chandrachud added while giving reasons for granting bail to Arnab Goswami.

Disposing of the appeals, the Supreme Court bench also said that the interim order shall remain in operation till further proceedings and it will be open to the parties to peruse further remedy.

SC judgement proves that the case filed against me is false and fabricated: Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami

Following the Supreme Court judgement declaring that there was no nexus between the FIR and the charges, Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami said that he was overwhelmed with the judgement of the Supreme Court. He added that the case filed against him was false and fabricated and added that the judgement of the top court proved that he was incarcerated illegally.

“Today’s judgement proves that vendetta and malice have no place in our society. The Supreme Court has stood by the people of India. The words of the Supreme Court today will go down in history. The Maharashtra Government and the Mumbai Police should immediately stop their vicious misuse of the law to target Republic,” the Republic TV chief who was arrested by the Mumbai Police on November 4 said to OpIndia.

Supreme Court had granted bail to Goswami on Nov 11

On November 11, the Supreme Court had ordered the immediate release of Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami after it granted interim bail in connection with the suicide case filed against them by the Maharashtra government.

A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra, hearing the petition, said that Bombay High Court made an error in rejecting the application for grant of interim bail on technical grounds. Granting the bail to Arnab Goswami, the apex court also directed the Raigad police to ensure the compliance of the order of release of Arnab Goswami forthwith.

The Supreme Court also asked Arnab Goswami and two other accused to execute a personal bond for an amount of Rs 50,000 for release on interim bail.

Arnab Goswami was arrested on November 4 after Maharashtra government had reopened a 2018 abatement of the suicide case of an architect, Anvay Naik. In his suicide note, the architect has blamed a few people, including Arnab Goswami, for not paying dues. Later, the court had closed the case after the Raigad police filed a closure report, but it was reopened in May 2020 by the Maharashtra government.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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