Mumbai Police issue show-cause notice to Arnab Goswami

Published: October 14,2020 10:43 AM

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October 14, 2020: Mumbai Police on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami over his alleged communal comments during his coverage of the Palghar lynching case

October 14, 2020: Mumbai Police on Tuesday issued a show-cause notice to Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami over his alleged communal comments during his coverage of the Palghar lynching case and the Bandra migrants incident in April this year.

The notice has been sent under section 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), asking Mr Goswami to show reasons as to why a bond of good behaviour should not be taken from him, a police official said.

He has been asked to appear before the Special Executive Magistrate and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Worli Division on Friday at 4 pm, the official added.

Republic Media Network, in a statement released late on Tuesday night, stated, “In the continuing malicious attempt to muzzle and intimidate Republic Media Network, the Mumbai Police has now issued a show-cause notice against Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami for raising questions in the Palghar lynching case and the shocking mega gathering amidst Covid-19 lockdown in Bandra, Mumbai. The summons as well as the show-cause notice issued to Arnab Goswami reeks of an openly spiteful and deeply motivated witch hunt by the state government of Maharashtra against a free press that holds the political dispensation accountable.”

The statement further read, “The agenda of the Mumbai Police is crystal clear, given the fact that their latest show-cause notice stands in complete violation of the orders of the courts of law. It is in the public domain and well-documented thereof that the honourable Supreme Court of India and honourable Bombay high court, both, passed orders on Arnab Goswami’s broadcast of the Palghar and Bandra incident cases. The legal facts must be reiterated so as to serve proof of the motivated agenda by the state machinery against Republic. The specific facts are as follows: The hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgment dated May 19 held that no other complaint can be initiated in respect of the Palghar broadcast of April 21. The Supreme Court in its order had observed “the need to ensure that the criminal process does not assume the character of a vexatious exercise by the institution of multifarious complaints founded on the same cause in multiple states” and extended protection “against any coercive steps arising out of and in relation to the” FIRs till a legal remedy was sought in the Bombay high court. The hon’ble Bombay high court judgment of June 30 suspended all criminal proceedings in respect to the FIRs registered against Arnab Goswami, based on the Palghar and Bandra news reports. The Bombay high court, staying the two FIRs filed by Mumbai Police against Arnab Goswami observed: “We cannot have the spectacle of a Damocles’ sword hanging over the head of a journalist while conducting a public debate. India is now a mature democracy“, and stated that “no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioner”. Therefore, the summons and show-cause notice issued by the executive magistrate, who is also the assistant commissioner of police, Mumbai (Worli), has no legal basis and is in contempt of court orders.

The show-cause notice said during the debate (in Hindi), Goswami asked whether it was a crime to be Hindu and wear saffron clothes and whether people would have remained silent had the victims not been Hindus.

A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for "giving provocation to cause riot" and "promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion" and other sections has been registered against Mr Goswami following the program, it added.

His comments could create communal disharmony and hatred between Hindus and Muslims, and the show evoked strong reactions on YouTube, the notice said.

Only because of the coronavirus pandemic there was no violence but the comments posed a threat to communal integrity and law and order, so as a preventive action the police had now started the process of taking an undertaking for good behaviour from Arnab Goswami, the official said.

A bond of ₹ 10 lakh for the duration of one year with one guarantor "who is well-known in society and who can control his behaviour" will be taken from Mr Goswami, he added.

“Republic Media Network officially states that we will leave no stone unturned to take every legal step available to fight the malicious agenda,” the statement concluded.