HCs failing to protect personal liberty, says SC while hearing Arnab case

SC expressed concern over states targeting individuals on basis of ideology and difference of opinion

Arnab Goswami
Within the first year of its airing, Republic Bharat was pulled up by Ofcom for three programmes | File Photo

While hearing the 2018 abetment to suicide case against Republic TV chief Arnab Goswami on Wednesday, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the Maharashtra government and said that it would be a travesty of justice if a person’s personal liberty is curtailed like this.

The case, pertaining to the alleged suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik over the non-payment of dues by Arnab Goswami’s company and others, was heard by a vacation bench of justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee,

Expressing concerns over state governments targeting individuals on the basis of ideology and difference of opinion, the bench said they must realise there is an apex court to protect liberty of the citizens. “We are seeing case after case where HCs are not granting bail and failing to protect personal liberty of people,” the court said.

It asked the state whether there was any need for custodial interrogation of Goswami as the issue pertains to “personal liberty” and observed Indian democracy is “extraordinarily resilient” and the Maharashtra government must ignore all this (Arnab’s taunt on TV).


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“Whatever be his ideology, least I don’t even watch his (Arnab’s) channel but if in this case constitutional court’s 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.”

Meanwhile, Arnab urged the top court to order a CBI inquiry into the case while his counsel Harish Salve said the power to reinvestigate the case was wrongly used. But the bench said they’d only look into the aspect of the petition for quashing the FIR against Arnab.

The case came to the Supreme Court after Goswami challenged the Bombay High Court’s refusal to give him bail on November 9. Arnab and the two others arrested in connection with the case were asked by the HC to approach the trial court for relief.

The Republic TV chief is now lodged in the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.