The Rajasthan High Court has extended the interim protection from arrest granted to news anchor Arnab Goswami in an FIR registered against him regarding broadcast of certain news on Republic Bharat regarding alleged temple demolition in Rajgarh.
The court granted four weeks time to the Public Prosecutor to file a reply.
Essentially, the FIR was registered at Ambamata Police Station, Udaipur on 17.05.2022 against Arnab Goswami along with other persons of Republic Bharat under Sections 153A, 295A, 120B, 499, 501, 504 & 505 of the Indian Penal Code and other relevant sections of Information Technology Act, 200 read with N.S.A. Act. The FIR was registered pursuant to the news reporting conducted by Republic Bharat with regards to demolition of temple at Rajasthan. The FIR was based on the complaint filed by Congress Spokesperson Pawan Khera. In this regard, Arnab Goswami has moved to the High Court seeking quashing of the aforesaid FIR.
Justice Dinesh Mehta, observed, "Learned Public Prosecutor prays for and granted four weeks' time to file reply. List this case on 05.07.2022. Till then, interim order passed by this Court on 20.05.2022 shall continue."
On 20.05.2022, the matter was mentioned before the bench by Sr. Adv. Mahesh Jethmalani. Consequently, Justice Dinesh Mehta had observed,
"Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case and considering that the omnibus allegations levelled in the FIR relate to an attempt to de-establish the State Government, this Court is of the view that the immediate and urgent interrogation of the petitioner is not required, particularly when neither details of programme nor any specific incident have been indicated in the written information."
The court had ordered that till the next date of hearing, the Investigating Officer shall not proceed in furtherance of the FIR in question and nor shall he arrest the petitioner.
Appearing for the petitioner, Sr. Adv. Mahesh Jethmalani had submitted that the FIR which has been registered against the petitioner on 17.05.2022 is politically motivated and the same has been lodged in order to harass the petitioner, who is a reputed T.V. Anchor and to get political clout by the complainant, who claims himself to be a Spokesperson of All India Congress Committee.
He had also submitted that petitioner apprehends that if immediate intervention is not granted by this Court, then the police may arrest the petitioner any time.
Counsels for Petitioner: Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani, Sr. Advocate, through VC, with Mr. Muktesh Maheshwari, Mr. Aidan Choudhary Ms. Malvika Trivedi, Sr. Advocate, through VC with Mr. Ravi Sharma, Mr. Saket Shukla
Counsels for Respondent: Mr. Anil Joshi, PP Mr. Karan Sharma
Case Title: Arnab Goswami v. State Of Rajasthan