NEW DELHI, April 24 - The Supreme Court on Friday granted 3-week protection from any coercive action to Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami on FIRs against him for alleged defamatory statements against Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi he made in the news show on the recent Palghar mob-lynching of three persons, including two sadhus in Maharashtra.
A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, in a hearing conducted through video conferencing, took note of the submissions of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and said that Goswami shall be protected against any coercive steps for the telecast of the alleged defamatory news programmes aired on the news channels.
It also said that Goswami can file anticipatory bail plea in connection with the FIRs after three weeks and he should cooperate with the investigating agency.
The top court allowed Goswami to amend his plea for impleading the complainants against him as parties in the apex court and also permitted him to seek clubbing of FIRs lodged against him.
The bench, while staying investigation in different FIRs lodged in various States also transferred the defamation case lodged in Nagpur to Mumbai and clubbed it with the FIR lodged by Goswami in connection with attack on him and his wife allegedly by some Congress workers.
The top court also issued notices to the Centre and States including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana on the plea of Goswami.
The top court also clarified that no investigation will be carried out in any fresh FIRs lodged against Goswami arising out the news show related to Palghar incident.
Goswami said in his plea that the FIRs which have been already registered, and the ones which are anticipated, are in relation to the broadcasts aired on Republic TV on April 16, and R. Bharat on April 21, which were in connection with the comments given by a member of Congress in relation to India�s COVID-19 testing measures and the unfortunate lynching of three individuals (including 2 sadhus/priests) in Palghar on April 16. � PTI