SC protects TV news editor from coercive action in doctored clip case


India

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Updated: Friday, August 5, 2022, 19:19 [IST]

Google One India News

New
Delhi,
Aug
05:

The
Supreme
Court
Friday
protected
a
TV
News
editor
and
restrained
authorities
in
various
states
from
taking
any
coercive
actions
against
him
in
connection
with
multiple
FIRs
for
playing
a
doctored
clip
of
Congress
leader
Rahul
Gandhi
during
the
telecast
of
a
programme
on
July
1.

A
bench
of
Justices
DY
Chandrachud
and
JB
Pardiwala
issued
notice
to
Rajasthan
and
Chhattisgarh
governments
and
said
that
no
action
be
taken
concerning
the
FIRs
lodged
in
Raipur
and
at
Sikar
on
the
same
cause
of
action.

SC protects TV news editor from coercive action in doctored clip case

The
bench
said
that
the
investigation
concerning
the
first
FIR
lodged
against
TV
news
editor
Rajnish
Ahuja
at
Jaipur
will
continue.
Senior
advocate
Siddharth
Dave,
appearing
for
Ahuja,
said
he
is
ready
to
participate
in
the
investigation
lodged
at
Jaipur
but
there
are
multiple
FIRs
lodged
against
him
over
the
same
telecast
and
he
cannot
be
harassed
by
being
summoned
at
different
places
simultaneously.

The
bench
noted
that
the
channel
had
withdrawn
the
telecast
on
the
very
next
day
and
had
tendered
an
apology
over
the
issue.
It
referred
to
the
order
passed
by
the
top
court
with
respect
to
the
news
anchor
of
the
show.

On
July
8,
the
top
court
granted
relief
to
TV
news
anchor
Rohit
Ranjan
and
restrained
various
state
authorities
from
taking
coercive
steps
against
him
to
take
him
in
custody
in
connection
with
multiple
FIRs
for
playing
a
doctored
clip
of
Congress
leader
Rahul
Gandhi
during
the
telecast
of
a
programme
on
July
1.

The
interim
protection
to
the
news
anchor
had
come
from
a
vacation
bench
which
also
issued
notices
to
the
Centre
and
states
of
Chhattisgarh,
Rajasthan,
and
Uttar
Pradesh
seeking
their
responses
on
Ranjan’s
plea
for
quashing
of
complaints
or
FIRs
concerning
the
telecast.
The
news
anchor
later
apologised
and
the
news
programme
was
withdrawn.

Ranjan
had
told
the
top
court
that
as
of
now,
three
FIRs
have
been
registered
against
him
at
Jaipur,
Raipur,
and
Noida
against
the
same
broadcast.
He
had
said
an
unintentional
error
was
committed
in
the
programme
and
an
apology
has
been
tendered.
In
his
petition,
the
news
anchor
has
sought
relief
including
the
quashing
of
FIRs
or
complaints
or
their
clubbing
and
transfer
to
one
place.
Ranjan
has
also
sought
a
direction
that
no
coercive
action
be
taken
against
him
for
the
withdrawn
programme
for
which
he
and
the
channel
have
apologised.

The
petition
has
sought
security
for
the
journalist,
his
family
members,
and
his
colleagues
associated
with
the
programme
in
question.
“The
present
writ
petition
is
being
filed
under
Article
32
of
the
Constitution
praying
for
the
quashing
/clubbing
of
almost
identical
criminal
complaints.
FIRs
were
filed
across
the
country
against
the
petitioner.
The
petitioner
prays
for
the
stay
of
coercive
action
during
the
pendency
of
the
present
petition,”
the
plea
by
the
news
anchor
has
said.

It
has
said
Ranjan
“anchored
/hosted
a
programme
on
Zee
News
on
July
1,
2022.
The
news
show
inadvertently
misattributed
certain
quotes
and
the
error
was
immediately
rectified.
An
unconditional
apology
was
tendered
by
the
petitioner
and
Zee
News
and
the
news
show
was
withdrawn
even
prior
to
the
registration
or
filing
of
any
FIR
and
complaint”.

However,
subsequently,
multiple
FIRs
and
complaints
have
been
filed
against
the
petitioner
under
various
provisions
of
law
for
the
same
incident,
it
said.
Referring
to
various
judgements,
the
plea
said,
“There
can
be
no
second
FIR
and
consequently
there
can
be
no
fresh
investigation
in
respect
of
the
same
cognizable
offence
or
incident
giving
rise
to
one
or
more
cognizable
offences.”

“Since
it
is
impossible
for
the
petitioner
to
approach
various
courts/police
stations
all
over
the
country
in
respect
of
such
FIRs/complaints,
the
present
writ
petition
is
being
filed
under
Article
32
against
the
violation
of
the
fundamental
rights
guaranteed
under
Article
19
(1)
(a)
(freedom
of
speech
and
expression)
and
Article
21
(right
to
life
and
liberty)
of
the
Constitution,”
it
has
said.

Furthermore,
the
issue
was
covered
under
the
provisions
of
the
Cable
Television
Networks
(Regulation)
Act,
1995
and
the
Programming
Rules
against
the
broadcaster,
it
said.
“Therefore,
when
there
is
special
law
dealing
with
the
issues
in
question,
there
was
no
question
to
invoke
the
criminal
statute
or
registration
of
FIRs,”
the
plea
said.



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