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Supreme Court Says ‘Personal Liberty Must Be Upheld’

The Supreme Court on Wednesday Nov 11, 2020 granted interim bail to Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami, who was arrested on November 4 and has since been in judicial custody in a criminal case related to the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik in 2018.
A vacation bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee
The Supreme Court said “Our view is that the High Court was in error in denying applications for grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct Arnab Manoranjan Goswami, Feroz Mohammed Sheikh and Neetu Sarda to be released on interim bail,”
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud expressed disappointment that the High Court had failed to use its jurisdiction to protect the personal liberty of a citizen.
In its order, the court said, “We must send a message today to the high courts as well. Please exercise your jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty … if this court were not to interfere today, we are travelling on a path of destruction of personal liberty undeniably”.
Forget this man (Goswami). You may not like his ideology. Leave yourself, I will not watch his channel .
Keep everything separate. If this is what our state governments are going to do for people who have to go to jail, then the Supreme Court will have to intervene. HC has to deliver a message- Please use your jurisdiction to maintain personal freedom. We are looking at case after case. Courts are failing to exercise jurisdiction. People are in jail for tweet! “, He remarked.
Arnab Goswami case: ‘If this court does not interfere today, we are on the path of destruction’, says Justice Chandrachud
Validity of investigation
The bench passed that the police have the power to investigate in a case where a ‘summary’ report has been filed.
“A summary is filed in a case where a crime has occurred, but the police have not ascertained the evidence. Does a summary deprive the police of an investigation? I cannot accept the position that the police A summary. Cannot investigate further in one case. ” Justice Chandrachud observed.
No case for abetment to suicide made out
Salve argued: “Last month a man in Maharashtra committed suicide saying the Chief Minister failed to pay salary? What you do? Arrest the Chief Minister?There has to be clear “mens rea” for offence of abetment to suicide…There was no personal relationship between Arnab Goswami and Anvay Naik. Mere contractual dispute cannot be abetment to suicide,” he said.
“The High Court made a “gross mistake”. The question whether enquiry could have started is up for consideration. If there are serious questions to be tried, why no interim relief? If the High Court felt there were serious questions for consideration, why no interim release was granted to him?”
‘Will Chief Minister Be Arrested If A Person Names Him In Suicide Note For Not Paying Salary?’ Salve Argued For Arnab Goswami
Senior advocate Harish Salve told the court today that the case against Arnab Goswami did not stand the test of basic materials required to establish a crime of suicide under Section 306 IPC.
“Last month, a person committed suicide in Maharashtra by saying that the Chief Minister failed to pay salaries? What do you do? Arrest the Chief Minister?” Salve said.
Mr. Salve was holding a reconsideration argument in the Supreme Court before the Bench of Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order denying Goswami bail in the 2018 suicide case.
Salve has confirmed his arguments on Mala’s judgment against Goswami, which he said is clear and that his arrest and detention are “tainted in malice”.
“Do you arrest a person in a three-year-old FIR and put him in jail on the week of Diwali and then transfer him to Taloja Jail with hardened criminals?” Salve presented before the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee.
In this context, Salve had told the bench that Goswami was being targeted by the ruling dispensation and that the unrelated issue related to the immediate matter was raised in the discussion before the Legislative Assembly.
‘If this court does not interfere today, we are on the path of destruction’, says Justice Chandrachud on Arnab Goswamy Case
Supreme Court Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee was hearing a petition filed by Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami challenging the November 9 order of the Bombay High Court, in which he said Interim bail in the suicide case was denied.
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud wondered whether the crime for suicide could be invited for non-payment of money, strong verbal comments against Goswami’s detention and denial of interim relief by the High Court.
“To exclude a case of kidnapping has to be actively abetted and encouraged. If a person owes money, is it a case of kidnapping for suicide? Due to financial stress, giving money to B.B. Is suicide. ” Does it attract offense under Section 306 IPC? We are working here with personal freedom and because he was owed money Naik committed suicide due to financial stress. Is this a case for custodial interrogation? “, Observed Justice Chandrachud.
Not stopping there, Justice Chandrachud also remarked: “If the FIR is pending, it will be an offense of justice if bail is not granted.”
“If we as a constitutional court do not make laws and protect liberty then who will?”, Justice Chandrachud asked.
High court renounced jurisdiction
Justice Chandrachud also expressed disappointment that the High Court failed to exercise its jurisdiction to protect the personal liberty of a citizen.
If the offense of abetment of suicide is committed under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, then the High Court did not deal with that aspect. Justice Chandrachud commented, but HC writes “tons and tons of pages on why the captive is not eligible even after prayer”.
“If this court does not interfere today, we are traveling on the path of destruction. Forget this man (Goswami). You may not like his ideology. Leave yourself, I will not watch his channel . Keep everything separate. If this is what our state governments are going to do for people who have to go to jail, then the Supreme Court will have to intervene. HC has to deliver a message- Please use your jurisdiction to maintain personal freedom. We are looking at case after case. Courts are failing to exercise jurisdiction. People are in jail for tweet! “, Commented Justice Chandrachud.
The judge also referred to a recent case where the SC had summoned a woman from Delhi by the West Bengal Police to tweet against the state government.
“Our democracy is exceptionally strong and resilient. Governments should ignore tweets and move forward. This is not the basis on which the election is contested”, commented Justice Chandrachud.
Justice Chandrachud also remarked, “There cannot be a technical basis for denying one’s personal liberty. This is not a case of terrorism”.