MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday suspended two FIRs lodged against Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for his alleged provocative and inflammatory comments on the Palghar mob lynching and gathering of migrant workers outside Bandra railway station amid lockdown.
In an interim order, a division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Riyaz Chagla noted that prima facie, no offence was disclosed against Goswami and he had not intended to cause public disharmony or incite violence.
The court, while admitting the petition filed by Goswami, directed the police to not take any coercive action until final hearing and disposal of the plea.
The Supreme Court on March 19 refused to transfer to CBI the criminal cases lodged against Goswami for alleged defamatory news show telecast on April 21 in connection with the Palghar mob-lynching case.
Observing that Journalistic freedom lies at the core of freedom of speech and expression, the top court quashed all other FIRs except the initial one, which was registered at Nagpur and subsequently transferred to Mumbai for joint investigation with the complaint of the journalist regarding the alleged assault on him.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah Goswami asked Goswami to seek quashing of FIR before competent court and protected him from coercive action for next 3-weeks.
Goswami had earlier sought the court to quash two FIRs lodged against him - one in Nagpur and the second with Pydhonie police in Mumbai.
The Nagpur case pertains to a show aired on the news channel where Goswami, the anchor, allegedly made several comments that would cause communal disharmony on the Palghar lynching case, where two seers were killed by a mob.
The Pydhonie case was lodged after another show aired on the channel, in which Goswami made provocative comments about a community after the incident of migrant workers gathering in large numbers outside the Bandra railway terminus during lockdown.