New Delhi [India], May 19 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to quash the FIRs registered against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly defaming Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and declined to hand over the probe in the matter to the CBI.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, also extended for three weeks the interim protection granted to Goswami against any coercive actions in the matter while also allowing him to pursue a further appropriate remedy.
The apex court also refused to quash the FIRs registered against Arnab Goswami.
The court said that it is the duty of the court to protect the right to freedom of expression and added that India’s freedom of press stays as long as journalists can speak truth to power.
“There are multiple criminal proceedings arising out of the same cause of action. The police were not prevented from the investigation. All FIRs and complaints arising out of the same broadcast made by the petitioner. The complaints are almost identical. The language content and sequencing of complaints are identical,” Justice Chandrachud said.
No transfer of investigation to CBI, the top court said and directed that the FIR/FIRs in Nagpur be transferred to Mumbai. The court said that freedom is not absolute and added that multiple complaints in the matter will have a stifling effect. Free citizens cannot exist without free media, the court said.
The Supreme Court had, on May 11, reserved its order on Goswami’s plea seeking an investigation in the matter by a probe agency other than Mumbai Police. Last month, the court had said that no coercive action should be taken against Goswami for three weeks during which he can seek anticipatory bail and other reliefs. (ANI)