Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Wednesday sensationally clarified that every case was different when lawyer Kapil Sibal reminded an earlier Supreme Court judgment granting bail to Arnab Goswami even when his bail plea was pending in a lower court. CJI Bobde adjourned the matter till next week, leaving the Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan to languish in jail in Uttar Pradesh.
When CJI Bobde asked the petitioner to move the high court, Sibal said, “In Arnab Goswami’s case, bail was pending before lower court and still this court entertained it.” This prompted Bobde to immediately declare, “Every case is different.”
The Bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, according to the Bar and Bench website, also rejected Sibal’s plea to not adjourn the matter citing the personal ‘liberty’ of the journalist in question.
While explaining its decision to hear Goswami’s case on priority, Justice DY Chandrachud had said that ‘courts must be alive to the need to safeguard the public interest in ensuring that the due enforcement of criminal law is not obstructed.’ “The fair investigation of crime is an aid to it. Equally it is the duty of courts across the spectrum – the district judiciary, the High Courts and the Supreme Court – to ensure that the criminal law does not become a weapon for the selective harassment of citizens,” it had added.
Kappan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh government when he was on his way to cover the gang-rape and death of a 19-year-old Dalit victim in Hathras district. He was later charged with the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sedition.