Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 11
Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was released from Navi Mumbai’s Taloja jail hours after the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted him interim bail.
Mumbai Police are investigating Goswami’s role in connection with a suicide case.
“We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail, a Vacation Bench of Justice DY Chndrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee said.
In its interim order, the court ordered the Maharashtra authorities to release the journalist forthwith. A reasoned verdict will be delivered later.
The Bench also granted interim bail to co-accused Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda, “subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent”.
The top court, however, directed the three accused to cooperate in the investigation and not make any attempt to interfere with the ongoing investigation or with the witnesses.
“The concerned jail authorities and the Superintendent of Police, Raigad are directed to ensure that this order is complied with forthwith,” it said.
“Whatever be his ideology, at least I don’t even watch his channel, but if in this case constitutional courts do not interfere today, we are travelling the path of destruction undeniably,” Justice Chandrachud said.
“The point is can you deny personal liberty of a person on these allegations… If the government targets individuals on this basis…You may not like television channels, but this should not happen,” the court said during the hearing that went on for the entire day.
Expressing serious concern over state governments targeting some individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion, the top court said they must realise that there was the Supreme Court to protect the liberty of citizens.
Goswami and the two other accused had challenged the Bombay High Court’s November 9 order denying them interim bail in connection with the 2018 alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer and had asked them to approach the sessions court.
“We are seeing case after case where high courts are not granting bail and failing to protect personal liberty of people,” the Bench said during the hearing.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, argued that the re-investigation ordered by the Maharashtra Home Minister was illegal and mala fide and a constitutional court must look into these aspects and technical argument on regular bail, etc, can’t come in the way.
“A man in Maharashtra committed suicide, saying the Chief Minister failed to pay him salary? What do you do? Arrest the Chief Minister?” Salve wondered. There has to be direct and proximate cause to invoke the change of abetment to suicide, he submitted.
On behalf of Maharastra Government senior counsel Kapil Sibal and senior counsel Amit Desai opposed Goswami’s plea. The other two accused were represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Sankaranarayanan. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared on behalf of the Centre.