The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, has granted interim bail to Republic Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two other accused (Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda) in the 2018 abetment of suicide case of interior designer Anvay Naik.
The SC bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice DY Chandrachud said that Goswami and two others should be released on interim bail. Imposing a bond of Rs 50,000, the apex court directed the Commissioner of Police to ensure that the order is followed immediately.
In his plea before the SC, Goswami stated that his arrest was “illegal, mala-fide and politically motivated as evident from the multifarious proceedings initiated against him, his news channel Republic TV and Republic Bharat at the behest of political dispensation.” Justice Chandrachud held that the Bombay High Court was incorrect in not granting bail to Goswami and others.
The proceedings started with the SC telling Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Arnab, that his client’s “only prayer remaining was quashing of FIR”. Salve submitted that his client is a target of collateral damage. “When the petition was filed, the order of Magistrate was not there. The malice on the part of the state needs to be seen at.” He added that they are past the FIR stage. “It was lodged way back in 2018, which was probed and closure report was filed in April 2019.” Salve explains that according to “documents” the amount, which was allegedly due to Naik, was paid.
The SC observed that they are witnessing case after case where High Courts are denying bail and failing to protect the personal liberty of people and expressed concern over state government targeting individuals based on ideology and difference of opinion.
The apex court said that it would be a travesty of justice if the personal liberty of a person were curtailed like this. “If we don’t interfere in this case today we will walk on the path of destruction. If left to me I won’t watch the channel and you may differ in ideology but Constitutional courts will have to protect such freedoms…,” Justice Chandrachud observed. “If we as a Constitutional court do not lay down law and protect liberty, then who will?” he added.