Photo Source: Republic TV.

SC asks Republic TV to go Bombay HC against police summons in TRP scam; “have faith in our high courts”, says Justice Chandrachud

The Supreme Court Thursday refused to entertain a petition filed by Republic TV challenging the Mumbai police investigation into the Television Rating Points (TRP) scam.

A three-judge bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud asked the petitioner to approach the Bombay High Court.

“Your office is at Worli. Worli to Flora Fountain (where Bombay high court is situated) is closer. We should have faith in our high courts,” Justice Chandrachud said to senior advocate Harish Salve who appeared for Republic TV.

Justice Chandrachud, however, also deprecated the tendency of police officers to go to the press on the investigation of cases.

“We are concerned with police commissioners giving interviews to the press these days,” Justice Chandrachud remarked.

The Mumbai police, in its affidavit, said that the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution could not be used as a shield to commit crimes and prevent an investigation into an offence.

The affidavit also said that Republic TV had been conducting TV debates into the scam and contacting witnesses and intimidating them.

Earlier the Mumbai Police claimed to have busted a “racket” where the TRPs of certain channels, including Republic TV, were being manipulated illegally.

Addressing the media, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said the city police was probing an alleged TRP scam where certain news channels manipulated Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data to boost their ratings. He identified Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema by name.

Singh added that two persons had been arrested in the matter.

The police had also summoned the chief financial officer (CFO) of Republic TV for interrogation.