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It cannot be said that appellant (Arnab Goswami) abetted suicide: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today explaining its reason behind granting bail to Republic Media Network Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami held that criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment of citizens.

The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee. Justice Chandrachud said,

It cannot be said that appellants had abetted the suicide of the head of the architectural firm…

High Court said the justification to quash has to be exercised carefully. If the High Court was carrying a prima facie evaluation, then it could not have seen that there was no nexus between FIR and Section 306 IPC…

The High Court abdicated its role as a protector of constitutional values and fundamental rights. Criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment of citizens.

The ingredient of the offense was not established. The High Court has failed to exercise its powers under Section 482 CrPC and thus failed to exercise power under Article 226 of the Constitution.

“t needs to be seen whether the accused can tamper evidence, or whether accused can flee, or whether ingredients of an offense are made out, along with interests of the State…Here the case is about liberty of a citizen. The appellants are residents of India and don’t post-flight risk or can they tamper evidence.

While stating that the courts must be circumspect in exercising powers under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the Court held,

It must aid the protecting liberty and the concept of liberty runs through the fabric of the Constitution. Misuse of criminal law is something the High Court should be alive to…”

Further criticizing the High Court for not granting interim bail to the journalist, the Court held,

Arnab Goswami stated he was being targeted for his views on subjects since April 2020. But here, the High Court abdicated its role as a protector of constitutional values and fundamental rights. Criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment of citizens.

Doors of courts cannot be closed in such cases and courts should remain open for all cases of deprivation of personal liberty and such deprivation cannot be even for one day.

Access to justice needs to be democratized and it cannot be a selective tool for a few.

While disposing of the appeal, the Supreme Court concluded,Our courts should exhibit acute awareness to the need to dispense justice in cases of personal liberty.”

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Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com
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