The Supreme Court today refused to admit Republic TV’s petition seeking a CBI probe into allegations of rigged viewership ratings, saying that the channel should instead approach the Bombay supreme court “like the other citizen-facing investigation”. Republic TV is among the three channels that are being investigated by the Mumbai Police for allegedly manipulating ratings to urge high advertising rates.
“You have already filed a petition in the supreme court. Entertaining this petition without the supreme court sends message that we do not have faith in high courts. like all other citizens face the predicament of probe under Cr.P.C (Criminal Procedure Code) must attend supreme court,” the court said.
The three-judge bench comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra, and Indira Banerjee said the supreme court has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the media group should approach it as its office is found at Worli which is on the brink of Flora Fountain where Bombay supreme court is situated.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Republic TV, expressed concern about the police commissioners giving interviews to media.
“We are concerned with the tendency of the commissioner to offer interviews nowadays,” Justice DY Chandrachud replied to Mr. Salve without pertaining to the case. Republic TV has now withdrawn its plea from the highest court.
Mumbai Police had opposed the petition filed by Republic TV, saying that the channel was making attempts to thwart the police investigations within the case.
In an advance petition filed within the Supreme Court late last night, the Mumbai Police said that Republic TV is abusing the method of law by conducting programs within the case and “intimidating the witnesses”.
Mumbai Police also contended the channel’s claim on freedom of speech in its affidavit to the highest court. “Freedom of speech right can’t be invoked into an alleged crime. Right under Article 19(1) freedom of speech can’t be a shield against the probe,” it said.
The police also said that a variety of officials of several channels are summoned within the case.
Apart from Republic TV, the Mumbai Police is investigating the role of two other channels — Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema — as a part of its probe into the alleged manipulation of ratings.
The investigation into the alleged fake rating case is predicated on a complaint by Hansa, a personal company involved in assessing viewership.
Republic TV – which claims the very best TRPs or Television Rating Points among news channels – has said that it had been being targeted for its coverage of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, where they need to question the role of Mumbai Police.
The channel’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami had said they’re going to sue Mumbai Police for the allegations which there’s “not one BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) report that mentioned Republic TV”. “The people of India know the reality . BARC has not mentioned Republic in any complaint,” he said.