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Bombay High Court denies exemption to Arnab Goswami, adjures him to appear on 10th June

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The Bombay High Court adjured Republic TV editor and founder Arnab Ranjan Goswami to appear before Mumbai Police on 10th June for interrogation and posted the legal proceedings of the petition to 12th June. Arnab had filed petitions in the High Court, seeking quashing of FIRs against him in NM Joshi Marg police station and Pydhonie police station.

On 2nd May, The Mumbai Police charged Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly giving the ‘migrant workers protest’ near Bandra railway terminus a communal angle, thereby inciting communal flare by associating the incident with a nearby mosque.

Pune-based social activist Nilesh Navlakha filed a criminal complaint against Goswami under the Cable Televisions Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, as reported. The complaint adverted towards 6 videos anchored by Arnab on Republic TV, out of which four promulgated on 20th April and were about the lynching that took place on 16th April, in Gadchinchale Village, Palghar District.

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Arnab solicited absolution from appearing before the police for interrogation which was denied; but on 24th April, the apex court had secured Mr. Goswami from arrest in the Gandhi malignation case.

On 19th May, the Supreme Court repudiated to allow Arnab’s petition seek retract of FIRs and transfer of scrutiny against him to CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). A judicator bench of Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Riyaz Chagla heeded the writ petition filed by Arnab.

At the outset, Senior Counsel Harish Salve read from the two FIRs filed against Arnab in Maharashtra; one was filed by State Energy Minister and Congress leader Nitin Raut in Nagpur on The Republic TV anchor’s fully-fledged provocative allegations and malignation of the reputation of Congress President Sonia Gandhi with the claim that she had strategised the Palghar lynching in Maharashtra and the second FIR was about regards with the Migrant Workers Protest near Bandra station where he deliberately dragged a nearby mosque to give the incident a communal angle, thereby creating a communal disturbance.

As per LiveLaw, Salve believed that Arnab is being castigated and underhanded by the Mumbai Police. He also asserted that the allegations imposed were merely on the grounds of exercise of Freedom of Speech by a journalist.

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The top court said that exercising the fundamental right to speech and expression is not absolute and is answerable to the legal regime enacted with reference to the provisions of Article 19(2).

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