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Friday, October 23, 2020

TRP ‘fraud’ case: Supreme Court asks Republic TV to move Bombay HC against police summons

The court also expressed concern over police commissioners “giving interviews”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 16, 2020 1:24:58 am
Fake TRP case, SC on TRP case, Supreme Court, Republic TV, SC on Republic TV case, Arnab Goswami, Mumbai Police, Indian ExpressThe Mumbai Police is probing the "fradulent" manipulation of TRPs involving three channels, including Republic TV. (Photos: Express, Wikimedia Commons)

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Republic TV to approach the Bombay High Court against the summons issued by Mumbai Police in connection with the investigation into charges of TRP fudging. The court also expressed concern over police commissioners “giving interviews”.

“I think your client’s office is in Worli. You can go to Flora Fountain and approach Bombay High Court under Article 226,” Justice D Y Chandrachud, heading a three-judge bench also comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee, told Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the channel. “We are only saying approach the HC first,” said Justice Malhotra. “We must have faith in our High Courts. Without the intervention of the HC, it sends a bad message… They have been functioning throughout the pandemic,” observed Justice Chandrachud. Justice Chandrachud added, “We are also concerned that as of late, police commissioners have the tendency of giving interviews”.

Also read | Amid TRP scam row, BARC pauses weekly ratings of news channels

Salve agreed to the court’s suggestion to approach the high court and withdrew the petition.

“Like any other citizen who faces the predicament of an investigation under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the petitioner will have to take recourse to the remedies which are available under the appropriate provisions of law. Hence, the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is not entertained,” the court said in its order.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Police, in an advance affidavit, termed the plea “a gross abuse of the process of law” and said it “ought to be dismissed in limine with exemplary costs”. The affidavit said “any investigation into an alleged crime by the investigating agency cannot be urged as a ground for violation of Article 19(1)(a) as is sought to be done by the Petitioners”.

Explained | Manipulation of Television Rating Points: How TRPs work, the scam

“Article 19(l)(a) cannot be invoked by the Petitioners to sidestep, thwart and prevent any investigation by the competent investigating agency into alleged fudging of TRP ratings. The right under Article 19(1)(a) is not a shield which can be used against any commission of crime under the extant criminal law of the land.”

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