New Delhi: The Maharashtra government on Monday withdrew its petition against a Bombay High Court’s 2020 order suspending the probe against Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami for allegedly making inflammatory comments, LiveLaw reported.
A bench of CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli permitted the Maharashtra government to withdraw the appeal filed by the previous Uddhav Thackeray dispensation.
The appeal against the high court order was filed in the top court when the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was ruling the state.
It was replaced by the NDA government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on June 30 after a revolt in the Shiv Sena.
“The order of the high court is an interim order. I have the instructions to withdraw it,” the counsel for the state government told the bench at the outset of the brief hearing on Monday. “Dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench ordered.
The high court, in 2020, had stayed the investigation into two FIRs filed against Goswami for allegedly making inflammatory comments during news programmes.
The FIRs pertain to Goswami’s comments in TV programmes about the Palghar lynching incident and migrants gathering in large numbers in Mumbai’s Bandra area during the Covid-induced lockdown.
The Maharashtra government, which was then ruled by Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi, had opposed the high court’s decision to stay the police probe against Goswami.
The top court had sought a response from Goswami and others on the appeal filed by the state government.
Two FIRs were filed against Goswami – one in Nagpur, which was later transferred to N M Joshi Marg police station in Mumbai following directions from the Supreme Court, and another at Pydhonie police station.
The one filed in Nagpur was about a news show aired on the channel on April 21, 2020, about the Palghar incident where two religious leaders and their driver were lynched.
The Pydhonie case followed a show aired by Republic TV on April 29, 2020, where Goswami had referred to migrants gathering near a mosque outside the Bandra railway terminus during the lockdown.