Bombay HC reserves order on Arnab Goswami's plea seeking quashing of 2 FIRs

The court, after hearing arguments, asked both the parties to submit their written submissions and reserved its order

The Bombay High Court on Friday reserved its orders on a plea filed by Republic TV Editor-in- Chief Arnab Goswami seeking to quash two FIRs lodged against him about alleged provocative comments on the Palghar mob lynching incident and on gathering of migrants outside Bandra railway station amid lockdown.

A division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla also said that its earlier order directing the police to not take any coercive action against the petitioner (Goswami) shall continue till the court pronounces its order.

 

Goswami had sought the court to quash two FIRs lodged against him- one in Nagpur and the second with Pydhonie police in Mumbai.

The Nagpur case pertains to a show aired on the news channel where Goswami, the anchor, allegedly made several comments that would cause communal disharmony on the Palghar lynching case, where two seers were killed by a mob.

The Pydhonie case was lodged after another show aired on the channel, in which Goswami made provocative comments about a community after the incident of migrant workers gathering in large numbers outside the Bandra railway terminus during lockdown.

Goswami's counsels Harish Salve and Milind Sathe argued that the Congress party has orchestrated multiple FIRs against the anchor across the country.

Salve further told the court that such cases require balancing of free speech and criminal law.

 

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Maharashtra government, opposed the petition and said a journalist has a right to freedom of expression, but does not have the right to declare that a person was killed only because he was of a particular religion.

Sibal read out to the court the transcripts of the two news shows, and said there was a clear attempt to incite communal violence.

The court, after hearing arguments, asked both the parties to submit their written submissions and reserved its order.



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