Arnab Goswami gets arrest shield from SC in Maharashtra Assembly’s breach of privilege case

The Supreme Court also served a showcause notice to Secretary of Maharashtra legislative assembly for his letter to Goswami purportedly cautioning him against disclosing house notice to the apex court.

The Supreme Court on Friday granted Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami protection from arrest in the Maharashtra Assembly’s breach of privilege motion case.

The apex court also served a showcause notice to Secretary of the legislative assembly for his letter to Goswami purportedly cautioning him against disclosing house notice to the apex court. It directed the Assembly Secretary to explain within two weeks as to why the contempt proceedings be not initiated against him.

“This is a serious matter and amounts to contempt. The statements are unprecedented and have a tendency to bring the administration of justice into disrepute and in any case may amount to direct interference in the administration of Justice. The intention of the author of the letter seems to be to intimidate the petitioner because he approached this court and to threaten him with a penalty for doing so,” said a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The top court underlined that the right to approach the court under Article 32 is a fundamental right and that no citizen of India can be deterred from exercising that right.

The top court was hearing the plea by Goswami against the showcause notice by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for initiation of breach of privilege motion against him for reportage related to the case of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.

In September, Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik had moved the privilege motion against Goswami in the Assembly, accusing him of using “derogatory language” and making baseless remarks against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP president Sharad Pawar. He had said that Goswami had been frequently insulting ministers, Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha members during TV debates and made unfounded allegations against many in the actor’s death case.

In a separate case, Goswami has been remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody in connection with a 2018 abetment to suicide case.

On Thursday, Goswami had failed to get interim relief from the Bombay High Court. Hearing Goswami’s habeas corpus petition for “immediate release” and a stay on the investigation by the Raigad police, a division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik had said it would hear both sides first and pass an order Friday.

Source: The Indian Express

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