The Supreme Court on Friday granted a Zee News Editor Rajnish Ahuja protection from arrest in connection with the first information reports (FIRs) registered against him for broadcasting a false news report claiming that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condoned the recent killing of a man in Udaipur.
The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and JB Pardiwala issued notice in the plea filed by the Editor and directed the Registry to tag it with the petition filed by anchor Rohit Ranjan. It stated,
"There shall be no coercive action against the editor with respect to the FIRs registered or the future ones. Issue notice to State of Rajasthan, State of Chhattisgarh and Union of India."
Appearing for the Editor, Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave told the Court that FIRs were registered against his client in Raipur in Chattisgarh and Sikar in Rajasthan.
The channel had broadcast a news show alleging that Rahul Gandhi had said that the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal Teji in Udaipur should be forgiven. Gandhi was, in fact, referring to those who had vandalised his office in Wayanad, Kerala, and not to the Udaipur killers.
The channel had later published an apology.
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.
The court has however noted that the probe in the first FIR lodged in Bani Park, District Jaipur, Rajasthan will continue.