The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition filed by ARG Outlier Media, the parent company of Republic TV, and the news channel’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami seeking protection for all employees of the organisation from coercive action by the Maharashtra Police in cases filed against them, reported Bar and Bench.
The petition alleged continuous hounding of Republic TV and its employees by the state police and asked to quash all first information reports lodged against them, or transfer them to the Central Bureau of Investigation, according to PTI. The petitioner also said there should be a CBI inquiry against the state and its police in the matter for lodging several cases against the media group and its employees.
However, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that the petition was “ambitious in nature”.
“This petition is ambitious in nature,” Chandrachud said. “You want Maharashtra police not to arrest any employee and transfer to CBI. You better withdraw this.”
The court allowed Senior Advocate Milind Sathe, who appeared for ARG Outlier Media, to withdraw the petition with liberty to take appropriate remedies available under the law, PTI reported. “You have sought all the reliefs and these cannot be entertained in one petition,” the bench remarked, following which Sathe withdrew the petition.
Last month, the Bombay High Court had allowed ARG Outlier to amend their petition against the chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police in an alleged fake Television Rating Points scam, in which Republic TV has been named.
A fake TRP racket was uncovered in October when the Broadcast Audience Research Council filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group – one of BARC’s vendors on engagement with panel homes, or “people’s meters”. Some of the channels were accused of rigging their TRPs by bribing some households to watch it. Apart from Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi were the others named during preliminary investigation. Several Republic TV officials have been questioned in the matter.
In a separate case, Goswami and two others have been named by the Maharashtra Police in connection with the 2018 suicide of designer Anvay Naik. Goswami has moved the Bombay High Court, seeking a stay on the filing of chargesheet and further investigation into the case. The court will hear this matter on December 10.