Liberty is Not a Gift for the Few, says SC While Extending Interim Bail of Arnab Goswami
While extending an interim bail granted to Republic TV's editor Arnab Goswami, the Supreme Court on Friday said liberty is not a gift for the few and courts from across the country should use its judgement for future cases for bail.
In the judgment, the bench of justice Dr DY Chandrachud and justice Indira Banerjee says, "It is our earnest hope that our courts will exhibit acute awareness to the need to expand the footprint of liberty and use our approach as a decision-making yardstick for future cases involving the grant of bail."
"More than four decades ago, in a celebrated judgment in state of Rajasthan, Jaipur vs Balchand, Justice Krishna Iyer pithily reminded us that the basic rule of our criminal justice system is 'bail, not jail'. The High Courts and Courts in the district judiciary of India must enforce this principle in practice, and not forego that duty, leaving this Court to intervene at all times," the bench said.
Citing data from the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), the bench also observed that there is a pressing need for courts across the judicial hierarchy in India to remedy the institutional problem of bail applications not being heard and disposed of with expedition.
(For nine High Courts, no separate data is available in relation to pending bail applications, which are quantified as pending applications simplicitor. Further, for two High Courts, the data is only available for their principal bench and not their circuit benches. More granulated data can be accessed at the website of the NJDG, available at )
Earlier this month, the apex court has granted interim bail to Mr Goswami and two other accused in the 2018 abetment of suicide case in which they were arrested.
The Supreme Count on Friday extended the interim bail to Mr Goswami, Feroze Shaikh and Nitesh Sarda. "The interim protection, which has been granted to the above accused by the order dated 11 November 2020 shall continue to remain in operation pending the disposal of the proceedings before the High Court and thereafter for a period of four weeks from the date of the judgment of the High Court, should it become necessary for all or any of them to take further recourse to their remedies in accordance with law," the bench of justice Chandrachud and justice Banerjee said.
At the same time, the bench also clarified that its observations on the facts contained in the present judgment are confined to a determination whether a case for grant of interim protection was made out. Equally, it says, "the observations, which are contained in the impugned order of the High Court were also at the interim stage and will not affect the final resolution of the issues which arise and have been raised before the High Court."
In the previous hearing, while granting interim bail to the three, the apex court has said, “"We are of the considered view that the High Court was in error in rejecting the applications for the grant of interim bail. We accordingly order and direct that Arbab Goswami, Feroz Mohammad Shaikh and Neetish Sarda shall be released on interim bail, subject to each of them executing a personal bond in the amount of Rs50,000 to be executed before the Jail Superintendent. They are however, directed to cooperate in the investigation and shall not make any attempt to interfere with the ongoing investigation or with the witnesses."
Mr Goswami, the head of Republic TV, was arrested on 4th November in connection with the double-suicide case of architect Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik on 5 May 2018 for alleged non-payment of his dues by Goswami, and two other creditors, Mr Shaikh and Mr Sarda.
Mr Naik's widow Akshata Naik and their daughter Adnya Naik had filed a separate plea seeking a reinvestigation into the case or transferring it to an independent agency for probe.