The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by ARG Outlier Media Private Limited, which owns the Republic Media network, seeking protection for the group and its employees in cases lodged against them in Maharashtra.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud which said that prayers in the petition were “all ambitious”.
“This petition is ambitious in nature. 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.
Sathe told the bench that they have filed the plea to stop the Maharashtra police from “hounding” the Republic media network, its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and other 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 requested that the Maharashtra government should be stopped from “hounding them” and all FIRs lodged against them should either be quashed or transferred to the CBI.
The petitioner had also urged for a CBI enquiry against the state and its police in the matter for lodging several cases against the media group and its employees. The petition had sought a direction that no member of the media group should be arrested by the Maharashtra police.
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 TRPs. ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd has denied these allegations.
The alleged racket came to light when BARC, an organization which 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 Goswami. The apex court had on November 27 extended the interim bail of 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 in the hands of state governments.