interim relief to Journalists over Article on Adani Group

Supreme Court: In a set of two criminal petitions filed by two journalists against the summons issued by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch seeking their appearance in person to question about their critical article titled “Documents Provide Fresh Insight Into Allegations of Stock Manipulation That Rocked India’s Powerful Adani Group” published on the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (‘OCCRP’) website, the Division Bench of B.R. Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra, JJ. allowed the appeal and directed that no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioners till the next hearing.

The Court had constituted an experts Committee headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre to assess the regulatory framework for protecting investor interests in India and directed Securities and Exhange Board of India (‘SEBI’) to conclude its investigation within 2 months. The chairperson and capital market regulator of the SEBI was also directed to thoroughly and specifically investigate, if there has been a violation of the minimum public shareholding norms in public limited companies; if there has been a failure to disclose transactions with related parties, and; if there was any manipulation of stock prices.

However, the petitioners had published the said article in the meantime and the Crime Branch had issued notice to them seeking their appearance for preliminary enquiry into the matter.

The Court allowed the petition and served notice to the respondents. The Court also granted interim protection to the petitioners by way of direction that no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioners till the next date of hearing.

[Ravi Nair v. State of Gujarat, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1419, Order dated: 03-11-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the petitioners: Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, Advocate on Record Paras Nath Singh, Advocate Rohin Bhatt

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