New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami,who was arrested on November 4 and has been under judicial custody since then in a criminal case relating to abetment to suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik in 2018.
The top court also allowed the interim release of the co-accused Neetish Sarda and Firoze Mohammed Sheikh in the case.
After a marathon hearing session which started from 11 AM and lasted till 4.15 PM, the bench observed :
“High Court was in error in rejecting the application for grant of interim bail.”
A vacation bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee passed the order after an urgent hearing given to the petitions challenging the November 9 order of the Bombay High Court which denied the accused interim bail in the habeas corpus petitions filed by them challenging their custody.
The Court said that Raigad police should ensure the compliance of the order of release forthwith. The accused should execute a personal bond for an amount of Rs 50,000/- for release on interim bail.
The Court said that detailed judgment recording the reasons for the order will be released later.
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud had expressed disappointment that the High Court failed to exercise its jurisdiction to protect the personal liberty of a citizen.
“If this court does not interfere today, we are travelling on the path of destruction. Forget this man (Goswami). You may not like his ideology. Left to myself, I will not watch his channel.
Keep aside everything. If this is what our state governments are going to do to people who are to be nailed, then the Supreme Court has to intervene. There has to be a message to HCs- Please exercise your jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty. We are seeing case after case. HCs are failing to exercise jurisdiction. People are in jail for tweets!”, he had remarked.
‘If This Court Does Not Interfere Today, We Are Travelling On Path Of Destruction’, Says Justice Chandrachud
Legality of investigation
The Bench observed in the passing that the Police has the power to investigate further in a case where ‘A Summary’ Report is filed.
“A Summary is filed in a case where there is offence, but police have not traced evidence. Does the A Summary deprive the police of the power to investigate? I cannot accept the position that police cannot investigate further in a case of A Summary,” Justice Chandrachud observed.
Salve had urged that the investigation could not be reopened in the absence of an order for further investigation by the Magistrate.
“It will set a dangerous precedent if the executive initiates further investigation after the Magistrate has accepted the ‘A Summary’…The further investigation in this case was directed by the IO. This is illegal. Interference by the State is clearly made out,” he submitted.
Salve had informed the Bench that whereas the Respondents are claiming that the Magistrate has permitted further investigation, in reality, he had only endorsed on the police application for further investigation as “seen and filed only”. CJM Alibag had also observed in the remand order that no connection was found between the suicide and the accused (Goswami), he told the Court.
“The Magistrate did not reject the ‘A Summary’ report. Does the executive retain the power to further investigate after that? I submit, they do not. Allowing that will be destruction of criminal procedure.”
However Justice Chandrachud remarked that what will happen if the ‘A Summary’ is set aside in the writ petition filed by Adnya Naik.