Refusing to entertain the plea filed by Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Private Limited (which owns Republic Media Network), the Supreme Court on Monday said that the prayers in the petition were a little ambitious. The plea sought protection for the group and its employees in the cases lodged against them in Maharashtra. The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that the petition is ambitious in nature.
Mumbai Police had registered a case in the alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation scam and Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh had claimed that three channels, including Republic TV, had manipulated the TRP. ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd has denied these allegations.
"You want Maharashtra police not to arrest any employee and transfer the cases to CBI. You better withdraw this," Justice Chandrachud told senior advocate Milind Sathe, who appeared for ARG Outlier Media. Milind Sathe told the bench that they have filed the plea to stop the Maharashtra police from hounding their media network, its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and its employees. "You have sought all the reliefs and these can't be entertained in one petition," the bench said, after which Sathe said he would withdraw the plea.
The apex court allowed Sathe to withdraw the petition with liberty to take appropriate remedies available under the law.
Besides seeking protection for the media group, Goswami and its employees, the petition had said that Maharashtra government should be stopped from hounding them and all FIRs (first information report) lodged against them be either quashed or transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The petitioner had also said there should be CBI enquiry against the state and its police in the matter for lodging several cases against the media group and its employees.
It had also sought a direction that no editorial and other staffs of the media group be arrested by the Maharashtra police.
The alleged TRP racket came to light when BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), an organisation that measures TRP, filed a complaint in this regard through Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, the police had said.
Besides this, some other cases are pending in Maharashtra against Arnab Goswami.
The apex court had on November 27 extended the interim bail of Repblic TV's editior-in-chief Arnab Goswami and two others till four weeks after the Bombay High Court decides their pleas for quashing of an FIR in the 2018 abetment to suicide case, saying that the judiciary should ensure criminal law does not become a weapon for selective harassment.