No enforcement action against journalist Rohit Ranjan, says SC | Latest India News

The Supreme Court on Friday issued an interim order barring authorities from taking coercive action against journalist Rohit Ranjan, who faces multiple cases for featuring on his Zee News show Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s vandalism remarks from his office in Kerala as his statement on the Udaipur hate crime.

“There will be an interim order restraining the respondent authorities from taking coercive measures to detain the petitioner in connection with the broadcast of the show on July 1,” Judges Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari said.

Ranjan asked the court to quash or bludgeon charges against him in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh as he feared arrest. Ranjan said the channel pulled the show and he apologized for the mistake. He maintained that the error was unintentional, but the police prosecuted him.

The court sought to hear Attorney General KK Venugopal in the case as he issued an opinion to the Union Home Ministry through his office. He has also issued notices to the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where lawsuits have been filed against Ranjan.

Lead attorney Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for Ranjan, told the court that his client was facing arrest warrants in two states and being held by Uttar Pradesh police despite apologizing for the ‘mistake.

The bench told Luthra that the notices should be directed to the respondents because the case was coming up for the first time.

Gandhi was referring to the attack on his office when he said “the children” behind him acted irresponsibly. “They are children, forgive them.” But the way the TV channel aired a video on Ranjan’s show gave the impression that Gandhi was saying those who killed Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur were children and should be forgiven.

Lawsuits have been filed against Ranjan in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh accusing him of promoting enmity. Zee TV has also filed a criminal complaint against two staff members who edited the video.

In his motion, Ranjan argued that the error was unintentional and that the problem is best covered by the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 and Programming Rules. He insisted that where there is a special law dealing with the issues in question, there is no question of invoking the criminal law or registering a case.

Ranjan said he was being prosecuted “maliciously” for an act that was neither intentional nor motivated. His legal team told the court that two junior employees, who have since resigned from the organization, manipulated the video. Ranjan argued that a script had been prepared for the show based on the video. He added that he realized the factual error and apologized.