The Supreme Court on Friday extended by one more week its interim protection to four journalists facing prosecution by Gujarat police over articles on alleged stock market manipulation by the Adani group, written against the backdrop of the Hindenburg Research report.
The bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Sanja Karol, however, asked the Supreme Court registry to examine whether the matter should go to another bench.
Earlier, senior advocate Anand Grover had requested that the matter be heard by the bench headed by Justice B.R. Gavai, which had earlier issued notices on the journalists’ pleas and passed orders for their interim protection.
Grover — appearing for journalists Ravi Nair and Anand Mangnale of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) — stressed that he had the “highest respect” for the bench of Justices Roy and Karol.
Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, representing the Gujarat government, said he did not want to say much on the subject. He said all the benches of the Supreme Court were equal.
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud will now decide which bench will hear the matter.
On November 10, the bench of Justices Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra had restrained Gujarat police from taking any coercive action, such as arrest, against two Financial Times journalists over an article published in the UK newspaper about the Adani group.
The bench had, however, asked the two journalists — Benjamin Nicholas Brooke Parkin and Chole Nina Cornish — to cooperate with the Gujarat police in the investigations and posted the next hearing to December 1.
It had also directed that the matter be tagged with a similar plea from Nair and Mangnale, being prosecuted over an article published on the OCCRP web portal on the allegations of stock market manipulation against the Adani group.
Earlier, on November 3, the bench had restrained the Gujarat police from taking any coercive action against Nair and Mangnale.