Arnab Goswami matter does not end at grant of bail by Supreme Court

Bad News For Maharashtra Government:

Arnab Goswami, the Editor of Republic TV has been granted bail by the Supreme Court yesterday. That is bad news for the autocratic Government of Maharashtra but there is more bad news. Supreme Court has not disposed off the petition and as per web site of Supreme Court SLP(Crl) No. 005598 – 005598/2020 (Crl.A. No. 000742 – 000742/2020) is still pending. It means a detailed order shall be passed later on. Order of Supreme Court dated 11 November granting bail to Arnab can be read here.

It is good that Supreme Court took notice of the grave error committed by the High Court which is the last sentinel of Constitutional Rights in a State. The Order dated 9th November 2020 passed by Maharashtra (Bombay) High Court is a classic example of how judgment should not be written. As rightly observed by the Supreme Court, in the course of hearing that High Court had time to write 57 pages of judgment on various issues but it did not consider the question of personal liberty even for once. Not once did the High Court asked the police why it arrested Arnab in a two years old case, suddenly. It did not pose the question that Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception. It did not ask for subjective satisfaction of the Investigating Officer recording need to arrest the accused. Worse, even yesterday, the State of Maharashtra could not and did not claim that Arnab was a security threat or that he was a flight risk.

Administrative Action:

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Bail order of Rhea Chakraborty violates Constitution.

Bombay High Court has granted bail to Rhea Chakraborty. The arguments in the matter were heard over seven days ago and now judgement is pronounced granting bail to her. There is a problem in the order.

Right to liberty is absolute:

As per the constitution, the right to liberty is absolute subject only to restrictions by a valid law. In this case the court took over seven days to decide, if Rhea Chakraborty was entitled to be free. Is that reasonable?

Justice delayed is justice denied:

I had pointed out that the requirement for bail under NDPS Act is very strict and it is almost a mini verdict on innocence. Section 37 of NDPS Act requires that the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that s/he is not guilty of such offence.  Now the judge has granted bail we have to assume that there was nothing on record to link her with the offence. We can not go into merits of the judgement. The reasons why Rhea should not be granted bail are already discussed here and I am surprised by the order which I have not read as yet.

Justice Sarang Vijaykumar Kotwal of Bombay High Court has delivered the verdict after deliberating for seven days. Here is the problem.

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