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Bombay HC- No substantial evidence against Arnab and Republic TV even after 3 months of investigation

The Bombay High Court made an observation in the TRP scam and stated that prima facie no substantial discovery has been brought on record against Republic TV and its editor-in-chief, Arnab Goswami even after lapse of three months of investigation.

The investigation is being carried on by the Mumbai Police’s crime branch and until now, no substantial piece of evidence has been placed before the court of law.

The bench also stated that it would examine whether the instant case falls within the categories mentioned in the Bhajan Lal case, which discussed about the extraordinary powers of court under Article 226 and Section 482 of CrPC. The case basically dealt with the measures taken to prevent abuse of the process of law.

The bench had mentioned about the Bhajan Lal case in order to determine whether they ought to wait for the completion of the investigation.

The bench highlighted the dilemma which it was facing due to the reliefs sought by Arnab Goswami and ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd., company which owns Republic TV.

The bench stated that their petition sought for quashing of the FIR and the subsequent charge sheets which had been filed against the ARG Outlier, the employees and Arnab Goswami. The petition also sought for not taking any coercive steps against the parties.

The bench stated that as long as accused’s guilt is not proved, on what basis it can decide whether the FIR should be quashed or not.

The bench opined that the importance of democracy is the faith and trust of citizens’ on its judicial institutions, which should not be affected at any cost.

The bench further stated that reasonability must be kept in mind and it the state is reasonable, there should be a deadline for the investigation. However, until now Mumbai police agreed to not take any coercive action until the next hearing.

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