Supreme Court Grants Zee News Producer Protection From Arrest In FIRs Over Broadcasting Doctored Video of Rahul Gandhi

Update: 2022-08-08 16:00 GMT

The Supreme Court, on Monday, granted interim protection from arrest to Zee News Producer, Narinder Singh in FIRs registered in relation to the airing of a fabricated video of Rahul Gandhi's speech.

The Counsel appearing on behalf of the Singh apprised a Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna that three FIRs have been filed against him - one in Jaipur, Rajasthan; the other in Raipur, Chhattisgarh; and the third one by Zee News in NOIDA, UP. In the complaint filed by the company it has sought investigation and appropriate action against Singh. Justice Chandrachud stated that the Bench would extend the same protections granted to the Zee News Editor, Rajnish Ahuja on Friday (5th Aug).

Accordingly, the Bench stated that investigation with respect to the first FIR, i.e., the one registered in Jaipur may continue. However, it granted stay on further proceedings in pursuance to the other two FIRs or any FIR filed on a future date dealing with the same issue. It further directed that no coercive steps shall be taken against Singh with respect to the three present FIRs and also any FIRs filed in the future with respect to the same subject matter.

Last month, the Court directed that no coercive action be taken against Rohit Ranjan, the anchor of the telecast in question, in relation to cases filed against him in multiple jurisdictions. At the request of the Counsel for Singh, the Bench tagged the present matter with the one filed by Rohit Ranjan.

The issue in all these petitions is with respect to a news aired by Zee News, on 01.07.2022, that Rahul Gandhi had said that the murderers of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal should be forgiven. However, the news was based on a doctored video of Gandhi in which he had actually said that he was forgiving the youngsters who vandalised his office in Wayanad, Kerala. The news segment was retracted on 02.07.2022. The anchor and show runners had apologized on air. According to the present petition, the Company, thereafter, in an attempt to fasten responsibility on Singh, had coerced him to resign on 02.07.2022. Subsequently a slew of FIRs were filed against him and the latest one being filed by Zee News, on 05.07.2022.

The petition was drawn by Advocate, Mr. Deepak Tyagi and filed by Advocate-on-Record, Ms. Praveena Gautam.

[Case Title: Narinder Singh v. Union of India WP(Crl) No 289 of 2022]

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