Rule of law prevails: SC orders release of Prabir, Navlakha - The Tribune India

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Rule of law prevails

SC orders release of Prabir, Navlakha

Rule of law prevails

Photo for representation. File photo



IN a victory for justice, civil liberties and the integrity of the legal process, the Supreme Court has ordered, in two separate cases, the release of Prabir Purkayastha, founder and editor-in-chief of NewsClick, and Gautam Navlakha, a human rights activist. The SC declared their arrests under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) illegal, underscoring the importance of adherence to lawful arrest procedures and safeguarding individual rights. The two cases had raised concerns about the misuse of anti-terror laws to stifle dissent and target people. Purkayastha was held in connection with alleged foreign funding and anti-national activities and Navlakha in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. Both arrests were criticised for lacking irrefutable evidence and procedural adherence, prompting an outcry from civil society and global observers.

While reiterating the protection of individual freedom against arbitrary state action, the SC has frequently emphasised that bail should be the norm and jail an exception. In Purkayastha’s case, it highlighted the absence of direct evidence linking him to any unlawful activity and criticised the authorities for overstepping legal boundaries in their eagerness to arrest him. In Navlakha’s case, it pointed out procedural lapses and emphasised the need for strict adherence to legal norms in arresting individuals under severe charges. The overturning of their arrests reinforces the principle that activism and dissent are not crimes, but essential elements of a vibrant democracy.

These cases highlight the need for reform in the implementation of the UAPA and similar laws. While national security is paramount, the misuse of such laws for political purposes erodes public trust in the justice delivery system and violates fundamental rights. Lawmakers and law enforcement authorities must heed the court’s message and work towards building a system that truly protects the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

#Gautam Navlakha #human rights #Supreme Court


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