The application filed by one Reepak Kansal states that Arnab Goswami made misleading statements in the writ petition filed by him in the SC seeking to quash the FIRs registered against him across the country.
Kansal takes objection to the claims made by Goswami in the plea that he is “a journalist and Editor”.
It is stated that broadcasting employees and TV anchors do not come within the definition of “Editor” as per ‘The Press and Registration Of Books Act 1867’ and also under the ambit of ‘working journalists’ as defined under The Working Journalists And Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions Of service) And Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955.
There is no law enacted till today to bring broadcasting employees / anchors in the definition of journalist and electronic broadcasting channels in the definition of ‘PRESS’, states the petition.
Also as on date Electronic media do not come under the ambit of Press Council of India as well, the applicant points out.
On these grounds, the applicant argues that Goswami knowingly made a false claim on affidavit before the SC, attracting the offence of perjury under Sections 191,199 and 200 of the Indian Penal Code.
Therefore, the petitioner urges the SC to initiate process under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prosecute the Republic TV anchor for perjury.
The plea assumes significance in view of the fact that Goswami’s petition in SC referred to the FIRs filed against him for defaming Sonia Gandhi as an attempt to “muzzle the press”.
He asserted that, “The complaints and the FIRs are false, vindictive, frivolous, malicious, precipitated with malice, untenable in law and have been filed with mala-fide intent by the Congress activists to coerce, harass and intimidate the petitioner in order to muzzle the media and in particular the petitioner, from carrying these news reports and conducting investigative journalism to bring the truth before the public.”
Goswami had approached the SC on April 23 seeking to quash FIRs registered against him in various states over allegations that his reportage of the Palghar lynching incident amounted to creating communal disharmony.
On April 24, the SC refused to quash the FIRs but granted him three weeks interim protection from arrest, and consolidated all FIRs and transferred them to Mumbai.