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There has to be responsibility in reporting, CJI S.A. Bobde tells Arnab Goswami’s counsel

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Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami

Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on Monday made some sharp observations on the reporting pattern adopted by Republic TV, during the hearing of an appeal filed by the Maharashtra government challenging the Bombay High Court order staying the investigation against the channel’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in connection with shows focusing on Palghar lynching case.

A bench, headed by the Chief Justice, told senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Goswami: “You can be old-fashioned and report it differently. Frankly speaking, I cannot stand it. This has never been the level of public discourse.”

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Maharashtra, asked the bench as to how the investigation could be stayed and also cited transcript of Goswami’s programmes on which the FIRs were registered.

To this, the Chief Justice replied problem is in the course of investigation, some authorities use unfair means and this is a purely intellectual and verbal matter.

FIRs were registered based on the allegations that Goswami’s coverage of Palghar lynching case, which involved death of two sadhus, and a migrant gathering in Mumbai’s Bandra, had a communal colour.

The Chief Justice added that police can ask questions, even the statute says that, and the courts should not interfere, but it has to be done in a certain manner.

As Singhvi insisted that the top court should allow the investigation without coercive steps, the Chief Justice replied that while nobody is above the law, but some people are targeted with higher intensity.

Salve contended that there is an FIR filed against the entire editorial team of Republic TV, and people from the channel have been questioned for long hours.

The Chief Justice then told Salve that “keeping your client aside, the court agrees with the freedom of press, but it does not appreciate the submission that as a person from the media your client should not be questioned”.

“We want a sense of assurance from you of responsibility,” he said.

Salve replied the society is fragile and there must be some responsibility, but the court should not take the FIR on face value.

“There has to be responsibility in reporting. There are some areas one has to tread with caution,” the Chief Justice said, adding that he can’t stand it and this not kind of public discourse to have.

He then asked Salve to put on an affidavit what his client proposes to do and also asked the Maharashtra government to submit a list of FIRs filed against Goswami. After a detailed hearing, the top court adjourned the matter for two weeks.

Maharashtra

No MVA in Goa; Shiv Sena, NCP to go without Congress

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The hope of stitching an MVA like alliance in Goa has not taken off as Congress is unwilling to ally with the Shiv Sena and NCP. The three parties have formed Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra but in Goa the Congress is already in alliance with Goa Forward Party.

The Congress is not willing to concede more seats to the allies and sources say it thinks that the NCP and the Shiv Sena in the fray will split BJP votes.

Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP said, “NCP and Shiv Sena tried to form an MVA like alliance in Goa but did not get positive response from the Congress.”

The Shiv Sena leader in the past had met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the same but things did not work out as Congress assessment is that people will vote for a change. NCP leader Praful Patel has said that his party will contest with Shiv Sena in the state.

The Congress had alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress were contesting in Goa to split the opposition vote and help the BJP.

Congress Senior observer of Goa, P. Chidambaram said the people are voting either for the BJP or for a regime change.

Chidambaram in a statement said, “My assessment that the AAP (and the TMC) will only fracture the non-BJP vote in Goa has been confirmed by Mr Arvind Kejriwal. The contest in Goa is between Congress and BJP”.

“Those who want a regime change (after 10 years of misrule) will vote for the Congress. Those who want the regime to continue will vote for the BJP. The choice before the voter in Goa is stark and clear. Do you want a regime change or not? I appeal to the voters of Goa to vote for a regime change and vote Congress,” he added.

The Congress is facing a tough battle in Goa while trying to be ahead of the BJP as the Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are spoiling the grand old party’s game in the state.

The Congress is trying to put up a strong face and has denied any alliance talks with the Trinamool despite speculations in the political circles. Jittered by the Congress stance, the Trinamool has launched an offensive against the Congress.

“The Trinamool has been saying that they are open to alliances, but Congress is not willing to accept and behaving like an emperor,” Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra said, adding: “Need of hour in Goa is to defeat BJP – no one should be on their high horse. AITC will not, repeat not, shy away from walking the last mile.”

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Maharashtra

Devendra Fadnavis demands action over Nana Patole remarks on Modi

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The BJP will not keep quiet over Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole’s alleged controversial remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Fadnavis also slammed the Maharashtra government for not filing an FIR over Patole’s comments, a video of which had gone viral on Monday.

“Someone called the Maharashtra CM’s wife Rabri devi and an FIR was filed. And here a person who calls himself a leader, threatens to kill the PM and there is no FIR (First Information Report) against him in Maharashtra. This is wrong. We will not keep quiet,” Fadnavis said.

In the video in Bhandara district in Maharashtra, Patole is allegedly heard saying he could beat up and badmouth Modi.

Patole later clarified that he was not referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but a local goon with a similar surname.

Fadnavis, however, hinted at Congress conspiracy against the Prime Minister.

“I feel it is a Congress policy. In Punjab, the security of the PM is compromised and in Maharashtra the president says we will beat the PM. Through this, one can know what he (Patole) really feels about the PM. I feel it is Congress policy and we demand that an FIR and legal action should be taken against Nana Patole because he has spoken about beating the Prime Minister,” Fadnavis said.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra Veteran PWP leader Prof N.D. Patil dies at 93

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Veteran political leader of Peasants & Workers Party (PWP), an ex-cabinet minister and a four-time legislator, Prof Narayan Dnyandeo Patil passed away following a brief illness, party leaders said here on Monday.

Battling from a recent brain haemorrhage, he breathed his last at a private hospital here early on Monday, aged 93.

Earlier, the fiery leader – who spent over seven decades in public life – was infected by Covid-19 and had recovered from it despite his advanced age.

He dedicated his life to the cause of farmers, peasants, mill-workers, casual labourers, the deprived and downtrodden in society and served as Maharashtra Member of Legislative Council for four terms, and served as a minister from 1978-1990.

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