The top court said prima facie evaluation of FIR about alleged non-payment of dues didn’t establish a charge of abetment to suicide against Goswami.
The Apex court on Friday delivered a detailed judgement in abetment of suicide case against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, concluding that the FIR against him prima facie didn’t establish abetment to suicide charge. A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud went to the extent of questioning the FIR against Goswami.
The top court said prima facie evaluation of FIR about alleged non-payment of dues driving the businessman to commit suicide didn’t establish a charge of abetment to suicide against Goswami.
It also pulled up the Bombay HC for failing to protect Goswami’s fundamental rights.
The bench, also comprising of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee, said courts must ensure that state didn’t use criminal law as a tool to harass citizens and jeopardise their liberties.
The Bombay High Court failed to take a prima facie view of the FIR and the nature of the accusation against Goswami and erred in denying him bail, the SC said, adding that the Bombay High Court abdicated its duty in protecting the liberties of a citizen (Goswami) allegedly targeted by the Maharashtra government he had been critical of.
The apex court also ordered that the interim bail granted to Goswami and two other accused – Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda -on November 11 would remain operational until the Bombay High Court disposed of their plea for quashing of the FIR.
After the high court’s order, the interim bail will remain in force for four weeks and if the high court rejects their plea, they can move the top court.
“A prima facie evaluation of the FIR does not establish the ingredients of the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC,” the bench said in a 55-page judgement.
“We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the application for the grant of interim bail,” the court said.
The court had earlier noted that if state governments target individuals, they must realise that there is the Supreme Court to protect the liberty of citizens