Tag Archives: Arnab Goswami

Historic Supreme Court order on human liberty and the role of Courts

Shivani Bhardwaj

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Friday 27 November has passed a historic order to uphold personal liberty in the Arnab Goswami case observing “The doors of the apex Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions“.

The Supreme Court, in its order passed by the two Judge bench of Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee, says: “Human liberty is a precious constitutional value, which is undoubtedly subject to regulation by validly enacted legislation. As such, the citizen is subject to the edicts of criminal law and procedure.”

The order further says, Section 482 recognizes the inherent power of the High Court to make such orders as are necessary to give effect to the provisions of the CrPC ― or prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice. Decisions of this court require the High Courts, in exercising the jurisdiction entrusted to them under Section 482, to act with circumspection. In emphasising that the High Court must exercise this power with a sense of restraint, the decisions of this Court are founded on the basic principle that the due enforcement of criminal law should not be obstructed by the accused taking recourse to artifices and strategies. The public interest in ensuring the due investigation of crime is protected by ensuring that the inherent power of the High Court is exercised with caution. That indeed is one – and a significant – end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is equally important: the recognition by Section 482 of the power inherent in the High Court to prevent the abuse of process or to secure the ends of justice is a valuable safeguard for protecting liberty. The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 was enacted by a legislature which was not subject to constitutional rights and limitations; yet it recognized the inherent power in Section 561A. Post-Independence, the recognition by Parliament of the inherent power of the High Court must be construed as an aid to preserve the constitutional value of liberty.

The writ of liberty runs through the fabric of the Constitution, the order asserts adding the need to ensure the fair investigation of crime is undoubtedly important in itself, because it protects at one level the rights of the victim and, at a more fundamental level, the societal interest in ensuring that crime is investigated and dealt with in accordance with law. On the other hand, the misuse of the criminal law is a matter of which the High Court and the lower Courts in this country must be alive.

In the Arnab Goswami case, the Supreme Court has said in its order that the High Court could not but have been cognizant of the specific ground which was raised before it by the appellant that he was being made a target as a part of a series of occurrences which have been taking place since April 2020. The specific case of the appellant is that he has been targeted because his opinions on his television channel are unpalatable to authority.

Whether the appellant has established a case for quashing the FIR is something on which the High Court will take a final view when the proceedings are listed
before it but, the apex Court has said: “we are clearly of the view that in failing to make even a prima facie evaluation of the FIR, the High Court abdicated its constitutional duty and function as a protector of liberty. Courts must be alive to the need to safeguard the public interest in ensuring that the due enforcement of criminal law is not obstructed. The fair investigation of crime is an aid to it. Equally it is the duty of courts across the spectrum – the district judiciary, the High Courts and the Supreme Court – to ensure that the criminal law does not become a weapon for the selective harassment of citizens. Courts should be alive to both ends of the spectrum – the need to ensure the proper enforcement of criminal law on the one hand and the need, on the other, of ensuring that the law does not become a ruse for targeted harassment. Liberty across human eras is as tenuous as tenuous can be. Liberty survives by the vigilance of her citizens, on the cacophony of the media and in the dusty corridors of courts alive to the rule of (and not by) law. Yet, much too often, liberty is a casualty when one of these components is found wanting.”

Observing that Kapil Sibal, Amit Desai and Chander Uday Singh were “undoubtedly right in submitting that the procedural hierarchy of courts in matters concerning the grant of bail needs to be respected, the Supreme Court has emphasised, there was a failure of the High Court to discharge its adjudicatory function at two levels – first in declining to evaluate prima facie at the interim stage in a petition for quashing the FIR as to whether an arguable case has been made out, and secondly, in declining interim bail, as a consequence of its failure to render a prima facie opinion on the first. The High Court did have the power to protect the citizen by an interim order in a petition invoking Article 226. Where the High Court has failed to do so, this Court would be abdicating its role and functions as a constitutional court if it refuses to interfere, despite the parameters for such interference being met. The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions.

Further the Supreme Court has said It would be apposite to extract the observations made, albeit in a
dissenting opinion, by Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, in a decision of a three judge bench in Romila Thapar vs Union of India: “The basic entitlement of every citizen who is faced with allegations of criminal wrongdoing, is that the investigative process should be fair. This is an integral component of the guarantee against arbitrariness under Article 14 and of the
right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. If this Court were not to stand by the principles which we have formulated, we may witness a soulful requiem to liberty.”

The decision in this matter was a dissent in the facts of the case. The view of the leading majority judgment is undoubtedly the view of the court, which binds us. However, the principle quoted in the present order is in line with the precedents of this court, it has been observed by the apex Court.

While reserving the judgment at the conclusion of arguments, the Supreme Court had directed the release of all the three appellants on bail pending the disposal of
the proceedings before the High Court. The following operative directions were issued on 11 November 2020:

“We are of the considered view that the High Court
was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of
interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arnab
Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent. They are, however, directed to cooperate in the investigation and shall not make any attempt to interfere with the ongoing investigation or with the witnesses.

The concerned jail authorities and the Superintendent
of Police, Raigad were directed to ensure that the apex Court order is complied with forthwith.

Click for Supreme Court order

Breaking News: Supreme Court grants bail to Arnab Goswami

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: Supreme Court of India has granted interim bail and ordered release of Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday 11 November ordered the concerned jail authorities and the Superintendent of Police, Raigad to ensure that the release order is complied with forthwith

The order by the two Judge Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Ms Justice Indira Banerjee says: “We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arnab Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs 50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent. They are, however, directed to co-operate the investigation and shall not make any attempt to interfere with the ongoing investigation or with the witnesses.”

The appeals before the Supreme Court arose from the order of the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Mumbai on 9 November 2020 by which the applications for the grant of the interim bail moved by the appellants pending the disposal of their writ petitions were rejected.

Senior advocates Harish Salve, Siddharth Bhatnagar, Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Shankaranarayanan represented Arnab Goswami in the Supreme Court.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Amit Desai and CU Singh were from the side of the respondents – Maharashtra Government and others.

Download Supreme Court order

check:

Arnab Goswami case: Landmark observations by Supreme Court of India in matter of personal liberty

Arnab assaulted and then arrested by Maharashtra Police

Please tell people of India my life is under threat: Arnab Goswami

Free Arnab; Restore Freedom of Media

Arnab Goswami case: Landmark observations by Supreme Court of India in matter of personal liberty

Lalit Shastri

Justice at last: I’m delighted by the observations of Justice DY Chandrachud in Supreme Court on Wednesday 11 November 2020 in the Arnab Goswami case. He has made landmark observations in favour of personal liberty and freedom of expression. The apex Court has rightly pointed to the failure on the part of the High Court of Bombay when it came to addressing the issue.

There has to be active incitement and encouragement (In the matter of abetment to suicide)

We are travelling on the path of destruction if we don’t interfere today

Our democracy is extraordinarily resilient. Governments must ignore all this. This is not the basis on which elections are fought

Can’t deny bail on technical grounds. This is not a case of terrorism.

Newsroom24x7 has a message for those equating Goswami’s arrest with the arrest of a few in Uttar Pradesh, who were strutting around as journalists, have links with PFI and are accused of anti-national activities. They should see reason and desist from drawing a parallel or any kind of analogy because if they do so they would be inviting rebuke and criticism based on facts.

Also check: Breaking News: Supreme Court grants bail to Arnab Goswami

Please tell people of India my life is under threat: Arnab Goswami

Newsroom24x7 Network

Mumbai: In the morning on Sunday 8 November 2020, Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-chief of Republic TV, who has spent 4 nights in judicial custody, was repeatedly saying ‘my life is under threat’ while being dragged and taken by the Maharashtra Police in a blacked-out police van to Taloja Jail.

Arnab, who was being taken from the quarantine centre in Alibag to Taloja jail on Sunday, has appealed to the Supreme Court of India to grant him bail.

In a statement, Arnab’s wife and Senior Executive Editor of Republic TV, Samyabrata Ray Goswami, said that the jailer had assaulted him after he asked for access to his lawyers, which was shockingly denied.

She has further stated:

“He detailed the assault being inflicted on him during this custody and pleaded, hands folded, to the Supreme Court of India for intervention and bail. An innocent man and journalist of decades of repute, a journalist doing his duty for the nation, has been assaulted, harassed and framed on fake charges. He has been thrown into jail with no reprieve. The state machinery has turned into a handmaiden for politically motivated aggression and the pillars of democracy cannot be spectators to the grave and brazen human rights abuses and state excesses deployed against a citizen in the state of Maharashtra by state machinery.

In the state of Maharashtra, institutions meant to safeguard law and order have become violators and assaulters in uniform. Fundamental rights are being trampled upon, due process is witnessing an egregious breakdown and institutional integrity is endangered like never before. My husband, the Editor-in-Chief of the leading news network in the country, has become subject to assault, physical harm, illegal arrest and all of this despite being in clear public sight, has not been met with any intervention.

With Arnab publicly disclosing the threat to his life and the atrocities he is facing in custody, the law and order officers and the entire state and national machinery will be held responsible if any harm is inflicted upon my husband.

I humbly appeal to the institutions that still hold truth to power and stand tall as a pillar of our great democracy to take note of the gross abuse and misuse of power at play to punish a journalist who demanded accountability precedent is being set today for our democracy. I turn to the great institutions with hope that those in power will not remain blind or mute to the atrocity on one man, one citizen, one journalist, one news network and the free press at large, anymore.

My life is under threat. My life is under threat. Not being allowed to speak to lawyers. They assaulted me this morning. Woke me up at 6 am, said I can’t speak to my lawyers. Please tell people of India my life is under threat – ARNAB GOSWAMI