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Defamation complaint against Arnab Goswami dismissed by Mumbai Sessions Court

2 min read


Elisha Vaswani

Sessions Court of Bombay dismissed a defamation complaint that was filed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abhishek Trimukhe.

The charges of defamation ensued due to the statements made by Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami.

The court declared that the present petition was not maintainable under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Trimukhe’s grievance was caused due to vile and malicious statements made about him, which were broadcast on the channel ‘Republic Bharat’ and were also uploaded for viewing on their YouTube channel.

The defamatory statements were expressed in the course of a panel discussion concerning the phone records of actor Rhea Chakraborty.

The allegations put forth by Trimukhe were that during the onset of investigation into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Goswami broadcasted content to paint a wrong impression.

An impression that Trimukhe had entered into a deal with Chakraborty to protect her and evade the process of law. The narrative that suggested that Trimukhe had stayed in touch with Chakraborty “a month prior to the demise of Rajput.” resulted in irrelevant inklings.

Owing to which great loss of reputation and goodwill has been suffered by Trimukhe. The prayers sought by him, included that Court shall take cognizance of offences under Sections 499, 500, 501 (criminal defamation) and 109 (punishment for abetment) of 34 (conspiracy) under Indian Penal Code. He also claimed compensation from Goswami.

However, to Trimukhe’s dismay, the petition was regarded as one which isn’t maintainable. The rationale for this as explained by Additional Sessions Judge Uday M Padwad is Section 199 (2) of CrPC, which provided that the complaint had to be filed by the ‘public prosecutor’ and no one else (including the person aggrieved by the offence).

The Court observed, In the present complaint, the complainant is not the public prosecutor. He merely has filed the complaint of Shri. Trimukhe, exactly similar to what the prosecutors do while filing Appeals, Revisions and other proceedings on behalf of the State/Prosecution. The public prosecutor thus is nothing more than a medium to file this complaint,” the Court said in the order.”

The court further added that his remedy to make a complaint before a competent Magistrate has not been exhausted.

In the present petition, the complainant and the person against whom the alleged offence is committed are one and the same, while S.199(2) explicitly requires for it to be otherwise.

This procedural error is the reason the petition was not in conformity with provisions of CrPC.