The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to transfer to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the FIRs lodged against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for a news programme on the Palghar mob-lynching. Another petition, filed by Goswami, seeking to quash the FIRs has also been dismissed, Live Law reported.
“There can be no quashing of FIR under Article 32. The Petitioner has the liberty to pursue a remedy before the competent court. The FIR does not cover offence of criminal defamation, therefore it is not necessary to address prayer on that issue,” the legal news website quoted the court as saying.
The top court had on May 11 directed no coercive action should be taken against Goswami in the fresh FIR lodged by Mumbai police and had reserved its verdict on two of his petitions.
Goswami had claimed in the top court that he was interrogated by Mumbai Police for over 12 hours concerning an FIR on alleged defamatory statements and one of the two investigating officers probing the case against him has tested positive for Covid-19.
Maharashtra government had also moved the apex court alleging that Goswami has been misusing protection granted by the top court and has been "browbeating" the police by "creating fear psychosis".
During the hearing on May 11, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Goswami, had argued that this case is all about a political party targeting a journalist as the complainants are members of one particular party.
"This will have a chilling effect on freedom of press," he had said, adding that press is not institutionalized but other institutions are protected and there are safeguards, wherein judges, MPs and bureaucrats are protected.
The top court had told Salve that points raised by him could be argued before the Bombay High Court either in an anticipatory bail plea or petition for quashing of the case.