The High Court has stayed proceedings against Republic TV editor-in-chief, Arnab Goswami and three other Republic journalists in a 2018 criminal defamation case—filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Syed Naeem Akhtar Andrabi.
The Court of Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta granted four weeks to Naeem Akthar to respond on why the case should not be quashed. Court listed the matter on April 15.
Earlier on February 23, Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar had issued non-bailable warrants against the four journalists following their failure to appear before the court. The complaint and the issuance of a non bailable warrant challenged was later challenged by Arnab Gosawmi.
The defamation complaint had been filed last year against Goswami, Republic’s J&K bureau chief Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil, former senior editor Aditya Raj Kaul and anchor Sakal Bhatt by Akhtar who claimed Republic had broadcast a “defamatory and malicious” segment and had tarnished his reputation.
The complainant has prayed that the accused should be tried and punished in accordance with the law for the Commission of the offence under section 499 and 500 of RPC.
The complaint was based on a letter by then Vice Chairperson of J&K Project Construction Corporation, Sheikh Khalid Jehangir, who is also accused in Akhtar's defamation complaint. In his letter to then J&K Governor NN Vohra, Jehangir had levelled allegations of corruption against a certain “Works Minister”. Akhtar’s complaint said he was named “intentionally and deliberately” during the June 21 broadcast by Kaul and Bhatt. The CJM on the presentation of the compliant and taking note of the statement made by the complainant supported by statement of a witness, has taken cognizance of the complaint and had directed the accused to appear before the court.