The case was heard by a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee. Explain that during the hearing, Justice Chandrachud said that if the court does not interfere in this case, then it will proceed on the path of destruction. The court said that ‘you may differ in ideology but the constitutional courts have to protect such freedom or else we are on the path of destruction’. Justice Chandrachud also said that it is better for the Supreme Court to ignore the legal aspects of the case as the issue is pending there and will be limited to the point of interim relief. Even in cases of anticipatory bail, courts pass interim orders not to make arrests while notices are issued to the prosecution.
Advocate Harish Salve, who is holding Arnab’s case, had argued in favor of bail saying that “Are Arnab Goswami a terrorist?” Are they accused of murder? Why can’t they be granted bail? He argued that ‘suicide must be the intention to commit suicide and this is the most important aspect. There is no intention in this matter. The Supreme Court has said in many rulings that there should be intent for suicide, which is not here. If a person commits suicide in Maharashtra and blames the government, will the Chief Minister be arrested? ‘
What did the Supreme Court say?
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud asked Kapil Sibal, who was favoring the Maharashtra government, that ‘one has committed suicide and the cause of death of the other is unknown. There are allegations against Goswami that the deceased owed a total of 6.45 crore and Goswami had to pay 88 lakhs. The FIR states that the deceased was suffering from ‘mental torture’ or mental stress? Also the 306 needs real provocation. Does one have to give money to the other and if he commits suicide then it was provoked? Would it not be a mockery of justice to deprive someone of bail?
Justice Chandrachud also asked that ‘when a contract is given, it is usually given to a contractor. If no one has paid then can any top person be arrested that you have not paid. The court said that ‘our democracy is exceptionally flexible. The point is that governments should ignore them (taunting on TV). Do you (Maharashtra) think that what they say makes a difference in the election? ‘
What did Harish Salve say for Arnab?
Arnab’s lawyer Harish Salve had argued that no link to suicide has been found in this case. He said that ‘Even the Alibag court admitted that no link had been found and refused to give police custody. In such a situation, custody is not made at all. This is illegal custody. This is not a matter of abetment to suicide. It is clear from the documents that Arnab paid the money to everyone. Anvay’s company was in loss for many years. He first killed his mother and committed suicide. Nayak committed suicide due to financial constraints. How can this be a case of abetment to suicide?
Salve said that the DGP / Home Ministry gave orders to reopen the suicide case, while these orders have to be given to the magistrate. He also said that Arnab has become the target of collateral damage. The maliciousness on the part of the state has to be seen. He said that the FIR was filed in 2018 and a closure report was filed in April 2019. However, CU Singh, the lawyer for interior designer Anvay Naik’s wife, said that “we were never given a closure report even though it is mandatory to inform the complainant first.” We did not know about the closure report till May 2020.
What did Kapil Sibal say for Maharashtra government?
Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Maharashtra government, said that the investigation so far is not before the court and if this court intervenes, it will set a dangerous precedent. Sibal said before the court that ‘how can you grant bail on the basis of FIR? The FIR is just the first information, not the encyclopedia. The investigation is on. There is evidence on record today, bail cannot be granted without looking at the evidence. The court is not allowing us to file papers. Judicial remand is ordered. There is an inquiry.
Sibal said that ‘How do you decide the intention in case of suicide? Only on facts and evidence. It cannot be a theory that the court grants bail only after studying the FIR. The investigation is currently underway. Remand ordered. Now the court cannot tell whether to read the FIR and see if bail can be granted. When you do not search for the accused, there cannot be a closure report. A closure report is filed upon completion of the investigation. This is not the case. In the closure report, the culprit has not been discovered. That is a crime but the accused has not been discovered.
What did the Maharashtra Police say?
The Maharashtra Police opposed the petition. The police said in the court that ‘We have collected records to prove whether it determines that the case of such death will be considered as a case of abetment to suicide. We are on this principle and your order will be affected. Thousands of petitions have been filed for cancellation of FIR and hence it has been warned that in rare cases Article 226 should be used. The sessions court is hearing the case and no intervention by the SC is required.
The police also said that ‘if every accused comes and says that the FIR does not reveal the crime and bail is granted then it will be a different situation for the courts and it will disrupt the entire scheme of the criminal justice system.’
Arnab Goswami went to SC against Bombay HC order
Let us tell that Arnab had challenged the order of Bombay High Court, in which Goswami was refused interim bail in the suicide case in 2018. A division bench of justices SK Shinde and MS Karnik had said that the petitioners can file their petition in the sessions court (lower court). Goswami and two others are accused of abetting an interior designer and his mother to commit suicide in 2018.