TRP Rip-off: SC asks Republic TV to maneuver Bombay Excessive Court docket

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 15

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain Republic TV’s petition against summons issued to its executives by the Mumbai Police in connection with the TRP scam case and asked it to move the Bombay High Court.

“Like any other citizen who faces the predicament of an investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the petitioner will have to take recourse to the remedies which are available under the appropriate provisions of law. Hence, the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is not entertained,” said a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

“One must have faith in the Bombay High Court,” said the Bench pointing out that Republic TV has an office at Worli which is close to Flora Fountain where the Bombay High Court is located.

“Better, you move HC for relief,” the top court told petitioner Arg Outlier Media Private Ltd which owns the Republic Media Network.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the petitioner, chose to withdraw the plea following the court’s refusal and the petition was accordingly “dismissed as withdrawn”.

The Bench took exception to the Mumbai Police chief making statements in the media.

“The way the Mumbai Police Commissioner has been giving statements in the press is not appropriate,” it noted.

In their affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Mumbai Police opposed Republic TV’s demand for a CBI probe, saying the news channel can’t decide which agency should investigate the matter.

Maintaining that an investigation into a crime can’t be a matter of free speech, the affidavit accused Goswami of threatening and intimidating witnesses by his programmes.

Alleging that Republic TV was attempting to turn the FIR in the TRP scam case into a “media spectacle”, Mumbai Police said rights under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution can’t be used as a shield against a crime and “used to side-step, thwart, or prevent any investigation by a competent agency into the alleged fudging of the TRP ratings.”

“Such a media trial is antithetic to the process of free and fair investigation as also administration of justice,” the affidavit submitted.

The Mumbai police had registered a case in the TRP scam and summoned Republic TV’s chief financial officer S Sundaram. They had arrested owners of two Marathi channel in the case.


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