TV anchor Rohit Ranjan’s counsel on Thursday sought hearing on his client’s plea against multiple FIRs registered against him over an alleged doctored video of Rahul Gandhi’s speech.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Ranjan, mentioned the matter before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari. Luthra submitted before the bench that the matter has not been listed for the day despite specific orders from the court.
The bench replied that Ranjan’s petition has not been assigned so far to any bench by the Chief Justice of India. Luthra requested the bench to list the petition for hearing on Friday. Luthra is assisted by a team of advocates from Karanjawala and Co. led by Ruby Singh Ahuja.
The plea filed under Article 32 of the Constitution sought quashing of FIRs in connection with the telecast, and in the alternative, clubbing of the multiple FIRs filed with the first FIR and also urged the court to provide protection against coercive measures.
The plea also said that multiple FIRs arising out of the same cause of action were not permissible under law. Furthermore, the issue was covered under the provisions of Section 16 and 17 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Programming Rules against the broadcaster.
It further added that when there is a special law dealing with the issues in question, there was no question to invoke the criminal statute or registration of FIRs. The plea said the petitioner is being hounded by the police from several states for an act which was neither intentional nor motivated and for which an unconditional apology has already been tendered and telecast.
On July 6, Luthra mentioned Ranjan’s plea before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari and urged the court to urgently hear the matter.
Luthra contended that his client made an error during a show and he later apologised for it. However, multiple FIRs have been registered against him in connection with the show. Luthra submitted before the bench that the Chhattisgarh Police were trying to arrest him and he was arrested by Noida Police on Wednesday and later released on bail. After hearing brief arguments in the matter, the bench agreed to list the matter on Thursday.
Ranjan, was seen anchoring with a ‘doctored’ video clip of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in which the latter was heard calling the Udaipur attackers as ‘children’, justifying the heinous killing of tailor Kanhaiya Lal last week. However, the original video had Rahul Gandhi’s comments on the SFI attack at his Wayanad office, which was “deliberately and mischievously” doctored to make it appear as if it was a comment on the heinous murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.