Recently acts of Mumbai Police Commissioner in “TRP Scam Case” were something that is a clear example of state influencing the state organs leading to the misuse of the official position. Now when we look into the legality of the case, it’s a case of alleged scam and the case is under investigation. Now the issue arises when the Police Commissioner of the state does the press conference in a particular case and takes name of “Republic Media Network” and Mr. Arnab Goswami alleging them of TRP Scam. On the other hand FIR in respect of TRP scam case no where talks about the “Republic Media Network” and therefore the act of police commissioner Mumbai are under serious suspicion. Naming a media channel during the press conference by none other but police commissioner of the state without having the name of the media channel in the FIR, shows the malafide intent of the commissioner to falsely engage and publicly defame a news channel.
In India Express Newspaper Ltd. v. Union of India; AIR 1986 SC 515 hon’ble apex court has clearly held that freedom of press is extremely essential for proper functioning of democracy. In such a situation wherein baseless accusation on a well known media house is been made is an attack on freedom of press. If in case police thinks fit that Mr. Goswami on among the accused in TRP scam case though his name not mentioned in FIR, police may issue summons to Mr. Goswami which is then due process of law. But as said earlier state machinery is influenced by state government and hence the due process is been exploited by doing press conference. Legal position as of now is that if an FIR is registered “where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge” then such a criminal proceeding against accused with malafide intent can be quashed by court while exercising its jurisdiction under Secction 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure the same was held in State of Haryana vs Bhajan Lal; [1992 Supp (1) SCC 335].
The government of Maharashtra accepted the fact in the court that neither “Republic Media Network” nor Mr. Goswami is named in the FIR in respect of TRP scam case. So this made it more clear positioning as to deliberate act to defame a particular media house just to satisfy the personal vendetta resulted to press of conference of Mumbai police commissioner and his continuous fictitious allegation on a media house. If we minutely look police commissioner of Mumbai has definitely committed a criminal offence of defamation mentioned under Section 499 of Indian Penal Code. Deliberate publication of a defamatory statement that has caused harm to the reputation of Mr. Arnab Goswami satisfies all the ingredients of section 499 of Code of Criminal procedure and hence should be liable to appropriate sanctions just to secure freedom of press as well as smooth functioning of democracy.