Three top lawyers on Friday backed Republic Media Network after the Maharashtra Assembly issued a notice to Arnab Goswami asking him to appear within 10 minutes. The state Assembly has accused the Republic Media Network's Editor-in-Chief of committing a breach of privilege after he questioned Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. Advocate Swapnil Kothari maintained that the notice should not have been served in the first place as due process was not followed. He exuded confidence in any court quashing the aforesaid notice.
#Arnab10MinuteNotice | Maharashtra assembly serves fouth notice to Arnab Goswami expecting him to appear in 10 mins, Republic will approach the courts.— Republic (@republic) October 16, 2020
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Advocate Swapnil Kothari remarked, "As this is a 10-minute notice, obviously even if you had a hyperloop or private jet, you couldn’t have landed at the Maharashtra Assembly to face the Speaker. In the first place, this notice should not have been served as you are a private person and not a member of the House. It is too short a notice to give to someone and in my opinion, it doesn’t follow due process. Tomorrow, if you take this issue to the SC or the Bombay HC also to get this notice quashed, then it will be very easy for you to do so."
Weighing in on this development, another lawyer Subhash Jha reminded the ruling lawmakers of how Indira Gandhi's powerful government had lost power in 1977 due to excesses. Indicating that Arnab has a strong case, he cited the relief granted by the apex court to former Lokayukta Justice (retd.) Ripusudan Dayal in 2014. Thereafter, senior advocate KK Manan opined that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was targeting Arnab because it wanted to hush up some sensitive cases. He added that the Network will not cow down because of such intimidation tactics. According to him, the SC could take suo moto cognizance of this latest development.
Lawyer Subhash Jha said, "It is saddening that this is happening in Mumbai, which happens to be the financial capital of India. And it is happening to the most popular news channel of the country. These lawmakers should remember that a powerful lady like Indira Gandhi’s ship sunk in 1977. The more they attack media, their reputation will still be undermined. No law can expect someone to do something that is impossible. In 2014, a SC three-judge bench had an occasion to deal with the matter of Lokayukta Justice (retd.) Ripusudan Dayal who was also issued a similar notice by the MP Assembly. That proceeding was quashed on the ground that a citizen who is aggrieved by such action- a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution will still be maintainable."
Senior advocate KK Manan opined, "The Maharashtra government is targeting Arnab Goswami because you are there to unearth the truth in few cases- the cases in which they didn’t do anything. They wanted to hush up the matter and for that purpose, they have a grudge against you. On one pretext or the other, they want to cow down you. I can say on record that Arnab Goswami will not cow down before them. The whole nation is with you today. The honourable Supreme Court will take cognizance of their conduct."