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No coercive action against TV news anchor in doctored clip case: Supreme Court

July 08, 2022 04:47 PM

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday restrained various state authorities from taking coercive steps against TV news anchor Rohit Ranjan, who is facing multiple FIRs for playing a doctored clip of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a programme on July 1.


A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari also issued notice to the Centre, through the office of the Attorney General, on Ranjan’s plea seeking quashing of complaints or FIRs relating to the telecast.


The apex court was hearing the plea of the anchor who is facing FIRs in some states. Ranjan had later apologised and the news programme was withdrawn.


While issuing notice on the plea which has made the Centre, states of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as parties, the top court said in the meanwhile, the respondent authorities would not take coercive steps against the petitioner to take him into custody.


Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Ranjan, told the bench that as of now, three FIRs had been registered at Jaipur, Raipur and Noida.


He said an unintentional error was committed in the programme and the petitioner had apologised also. Luthra said two persons concerned of the company had accepted their fault and resigned.


“Today, my difficulty is, the first FIR is in Jaipur, the second is at Raipur in Chhattisgarh,” Luthra said, adding an FIR is also there in Noida.


In his petition filed through law firm Karanjawala and Co, 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Ranjan has also sought a direction that no coercive action be taken against him for the withdrawn programme for which he and the channel had apologised.


The petition has sought security for the journalist, his family, and his colleagues associated with the programme in question.


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