Arguments between Harish Salve and Kapil Sibal in the Supreme Court pertaining to Arnab Goswami Suicide Abetment Case
Lakshay Parmar 17 Nov 2020

Arguments between Harish Salve and Kapil Sibal in the Supreme Court pertaining to Arnab Goswami Suicide Abetment Case

This case involves the arrest of Republic T.V Chief Editor Arnab Goswami by the Mahrashtra Police for a case involving Abetment to suicide. An architect and his mother committed suicide in 2018 and in their suicide note it was alleged that Arnab Goswami along with two other people owed them an amount of 5.4 Crores. The case was closed in 2019 and was re-opened in 2020. The bail application in the present case was first moved in the Bombay HC wherein it was rejected and the court directed the petitioner to approach session’s court for bail. Subsequently the SC was moved in the same issue and the bail was granted after the matter was heard by a bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

The primary argument in this case raised by Harish Salve who was appearing for Goswami was that though a suicide has taken place but how can it be termed as an abetment of suicide. For that to be established there must be a direct or indirect connection with the offence. Salve also stated that, “tomorrow if someone commits suicide in Mahrashtra and blames the Government, will the C.M be arrested for that?”

Harish Salve also said that the FIR was filed way back in 2018 and the same was investigated and a closure report was filed in April 2019.

He further said in this regard that a re-investigation can only be ordered by a court of law and without the court’s order a re-investigation is per se illegal and stated, “A Summary Report (Closure) needs to be first set aside in a judicial forum. SC judgments say Magistrates power cannot be taken away to re order a probe or set aside an A Summary report (Closure report). Truth has a nasty habit of sneaking out. They say that since police has been directed to re-investigate they are doing so. It is a dangerous precedent to say that after a magistrate has accepted a Summary, the Executive can order a re-investigation”

Salve said that the general rule of natural justice is that a person must be granted bail during the trial of his case and the individual should not be put behind bars unless he is charged with a grave offence. Here the contrary is happening, the individual is behind bars for 7 days for an offence regarding which a closure report was filed. He also said that there is some malice in the actions of the state as he referred to some previous FIR’s against Goswami and the instance when he reported the Palghar and Bandra incidents which were critical of Maharashtra Government.

Kapil Sibal was appearing for the Maharashtra Government and the main contention raised by him was that bail should not be granted by a mere reading of the FIR while the matter of quashing the same is pending before the HC.

Sibal highlighted the instance wherein journalist Sidhique Kappan was detained by U.P. Police and this court sent the case to the Allahabad HC for hearing. He also said that Kappan is still languishing in jail as no bail was granted.

Though the matter of quashing the FIR was pending before the HC, Sibal also argued that this court would set a “dangerous precedent” if it grants bail merely on the reading of the FIR.

Subsequently, the bail application was accepted by the SC and the same was granted.

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