In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday announced its detailed reasoning for granting interim bail to Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in a ‘reopened’ abetment to suicide case. The bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee announcing the verdict said that the interim order shall remain in operation till further proceedings and it will be open to the parties to peruse further remedy. The Bench disposed of the appeals.
On November 11, the Apex Court had granted interim bail to Arnab Goswami saying it will be a travesty of justice if personal liberty is curtailed. Justice Chandrachud also observed that Arnab Goswami is not a “flight risk” in this case.
“We have also added a section on Human liberty and role of Courts: Section 482 recognizes powers of the HC to give effect to other provisions of CrPC. Due enforcement of criminal law cannot be obstructed by accused opting strategies and the court must be circumspect in exercising powers under Section 482 CrPc. The court recognizes inherent power but it must aid the protecting liberty and the concept of liberty runs through the fabric of the constitution. Misuse of criminal law is something HC should be alive to,” the court said.
The Supreme Court also said that the Bombay HC abdicated its role as a protector of constitutional values and fundamental rights. “Criminal law should not become a tool for selective harassment for 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,” the court noted.
“The consequence for those who suffer incarceration are serious. Common citizens without the means or resources to move the High Courts or this Court languish as undertrials. Courts must be alive to the situation as it prevails on the ground – in the jails and police stations where human dignity has no protector,” the judgement stated.
“Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defence against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions.”