Mumbai: The two first information reports (FIRs) filed against Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami have been suspended.
The Bombay high court (HC) said that prima facie there is no case and offences against the prime-time anchor that needed coercive action, reported Hindustan Times (HT). A two-member division bench of the HC, comprising Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla, pronounced the order.
The FIRs had been filed at Pydhonie and NM Joshi Marg police stations against the journalist for allegedly giving a communal spin on his prime-time shows on the Palghar lynching of two Hindu seers on April 16 and the gathering of protesting migrants outside the Bandra railway station in mid-April amid the nationwide lockdown restrictions that were enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19. Goswami had filed a petition for quashing both the FIRs.
Arguing for Goswami, senior counsel Harish Salve and Milind Sathe had submitted that the journalist had a right to report on communal incidents and Goswami had done that in both the cases he was accused of.
The senior advocates submitted that invoking Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, and language) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Goswami for criticising Congress party president Sonia Gandhi was malicious and was against his right to freedom of expression.
Salve had further submitted that the FIRs against Goswami were politically motivated and was an attempt to silence his criticism of the Maharashtra government in both the incidents, HT reported.