SC grants interim bail to Arnab Goswami in abetment to suicide case

Satya Prakash 

Tribune News Service 

New Delhi, November 11

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.

A Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud also ordered release of two co-accused in the case. They have been asked to execute a bail bond of Rs 50,000 each.

The Supreme Court said the Bombay High Court was in error in rejecting Goswami’s application for grant of interim bail.

It ordered the Raigad police to ensure compliance of its order to release Arnab Goswami forthwith.

During the hearing that went on for the entire day, the Supreme Court questioned the Maharashtra government over the 2018 abetment to suicide case against the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief, saying it would be a travesty of justice if personal liberty of a person was curtailed like this.

It said if state governments targeted individuals, they must realise that there was the Supreme Court to protect the liberty of citizens.

The top court expressed serious concern over state governments targeting some individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion.

“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.

“Whatever be his ideology, 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, adding, “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.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, argued that the re-investigation ordered by the Maharashtra Home Minister was illegal and malafide 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.

He said there has to be direct and proximate cause to invoke the change of abetment to suicide.

The Bench — which also included Justice Indira Banerjee — ordered that the accused shall not make any attempt to tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.

Goswami – currently lodged in Taloja jail — had challenged the November 9 order of the high court that asked him to approach the sessions court for regular bail.

The Bombay High Court had on Monday rejected the interim bail pleas of Goswami and two others in connection with the alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer and had asked them to approach the sessions court.

It had also rejected the interim bail pleas of two other accused Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda, saying, “no case has been made out for us (court) to exercise our extraordinary jurisdiction”.

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