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The Supreme Court will pronounce its order tomorrow on Republic TV Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami's pleas seeking to quash the FIRs filed against him in relation to programs he conducted on the Palghar lynching incident and the Bandra migrant crisis.
The Republic TV founder had moved the Supreme Court on two occasions seeking to quash the FIRs registered against him in relation to his debate programs on Republic TV and the Republic Bharat news channels.
One of the programs pertained to the Palghar lynching, after which Goswami was accused of making defamatory remarks against Congress President Sonia Gandhi as well as of making statements promoting enmity.
The other program pertained to Arnab's debate program on the Bandra migrant crisis that took place on April 14, following which Goswami allegedly made statements that communalised the incident.
After a large number of FIR's over Palghar lynching broadcast were filed against him, Goswami moved the Apex Court seeking that the FIRs be quashed, claiming them to be politically motivated.
In response, the Supreme Court passed an interim order staying action on all FIRs but one filed in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra FIR stood transferred from Nagpur to Mumbai where it was to be investigated. Goswami was granted interim relief from arrest for a period of three weeks ater which he could seek appropriate legal remedy.
Goswami was interrogated by the Maharashtra Police for over 12 hours in connection with the case. In an unusual move, the Police also moved the Supreme Court claiming threat and pressure from Goswami thereafter.
In a subsequent petition filed by Goswami, he sought to quash an FIR registered in Mumbai against him over his broadcast on the Bandra incident. Goswami claimed that the Police was acting with "malafide and with ill-will".
A grievance was raised by Goswami before the Supreme Court on May 11 that the Police force against which he had raised serious allegations was now questioning him. Therefore, it was urged that the investigation in the matter be transferred to an independent agency such as the CBI.
The transfer of probe was batted for by the Solicitor General for India Tushar Mehta as well, who said that in light of the unusual circumstances where both the accused and the investigating agency are accusing each other, the best solution would be to transfer the probe to another independent agency.
The State of Maharashtra had, however, opposed this request and maintained that the news anchor had prima facie violated the permissible bounds under Article 19 of the Constitution.
During the hearing, Supreme Court observed that the High Court would be the appropriate forum to decide the issue of the quashing of the single FIR against Goswami.
After hearing more submissions in the matter, the Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah reserved its orders, while also extending the interim protection granted to Goswami until the pronouncement of the order.