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Bombay High Court reserves order on Arnab Goswami, Republic TV editor can approach lower court for bail

New Delhi (ILNS): Republic TV Editor Aarnab Goswami’s bail plea in a habeas corpus petition before the Bombay High Court failed to yield the desired result today. The court acted on merit and reserved its order, commenting: “If we grant remedy, then everyone will come to the High Court.”

This was decided by the court after hours of deliberations where some of the most expensive lawyers of the country argued for Arnab’s bail, citing judgments galore.

The court, however, allowed leave to Arnab to approach the Sessions Court for bail under Section 439 CrPC. This was in relation to the abetment to suicide case. Arnab is currently in judicial custody. The police’s claim to have him in police custody has been rejected. Following the hearing, the bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik reserved its order.

The argument from the state was spearheaded by Senior Advocate Amit Desai, who said that there could be a dispute to the hierarchy of courts if the bail plea was entertained and decided upon directly by the high court. This, he asserted, was only possible under very special circumstances and that this was not one such. “This is not a fit case for grant of interim relief. They have remedy before the trial court. They may get bail when if the trial court deems it fit. But to exercise this jurisdiction will lead to flood gate of applications.”

After the hearing was adjourned yesterday, the high court this afternoon resumed hearing.

Arnab Goswami Goswami has sought for bail in the FIR (CR. no. 59 of 2018) and also charged serious allegations of manhandling by the Police. In the hearing today, the court heard Arnab’s Habeas petition, the two other accused in the abetment to suicide case, Hansa Research Group, the State and late Anvay’s daughter Adnya Naik.

His application alleges:

“During the course of his arrest and while being transferred to Alibaug in a police van and in the custody of the police, the Petitioner suffered a 6-inch-deep gash on his left hand, a serious injury to his spinal cord, was hit by a heavy uniform police officer’s boot, was not allowed to wear shoes throughout, suffered vein injuries and was not even given access to drinking water. Additionally, the Petitioner was also forced to consume certain liquid by the police officers guarding him and choked as a result thereof.”

In the case, Senior Advocate Harish Salve referred to Jagisha Arora’s habeas case where the Supreme Court ordered the release of Prashant Kanojia from custody last year. Salve maintained that the very same argument that habeas was not maintainable was raised in that case, however, the Supreme Court did not accept it and ordered the release of  Prashant Kanojia who was remanded to custody.

The court observed:

“The writ petition is based on a case of ‘malice in fact’ by the State. If under Article 32 bail can be granted, bail can be granted under Article 226.”

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, appearing for the co-accused submitted that he won’t repeat any submissions made by Salve or Senior Advocate Aabad Ponda. The FIR is under Section 306 and 34(common intention) IPC. He argued that the accused has been tagged along with Arnab Goswami, a stranger to him.

Justice Shinde said that in a habeas corpus petition, the court can issue only relief of habeas order in case of illegal detention. To this Aggarwal stated that the Writ Petition seeks the quashing of FIR, and also an interim application seeking bail also moved.

He said:

“Only three names are given in the suicide name. This is the only basis for FIR. They are three different persons, three different businessmen. Section 34(common intention) is also invoked along with 306. Three strangers and common intention?”

The Court said: “Please don’t expect petitions are filed and disposed off on the same day without hearing all sides.”

Also Read: Fake TRP scam: Bombay High Court berates police for harassment of Hansa, agree to twice-a-week calls

Aggarwal said: 

 “The other side is yet to file an affidavit. I will make good my case. My arguments against the detention are supported from the judgment of the Supreme Court – Vinubhai Haribhai.” He added: “Please see the closure report I have annexed in my petition. It says that Anvay Naik and his mother’s death have no connection with the accused, there is no link, and there was no evidence to support the allegations in the FIR.”

Arguments continued throughout the day, and the case of Arnab came up last.

-India Legal Bureau

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