NewsClick founder’s UAPA arrest invalid: Supreme Court orders his release : The Tribune India

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NewsClick founder’s UAPA arrest invalid: Supreme Court orders his release

Says police failed to tell Purkayastha about grounds of arrest

NewsClick founder’s UAPA arrest invalid: Supreme Court orders his release

Prabir Purkayastha



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, May 15

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha after declaring “invalid” his arrest and subsequent remand in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) due to the Delhi Police’s failure to communicate to him the grounds of arrest as required under Article 22 of the Constitution.

Noting that he was not informed of the grounds of his arrest and a copy of the remand application was not provided to Purkayastha or his counsel before passing the October 4, 2023, remand order, a Bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta said as a result, he was entitled to be released from custody.

“Accordingly, the arrest of the appellant, followed by the remand order issued on October 4, 2023, and so also the impugned order passed by the High Court of Delhi on October 13, 2023, are hereby declared to be invalid in the eyes of law and are quashed,” the Bench said. “We have no hesitation in reiterating that the requirement to communicate the grounds of arrest or detention in writing to a person arrested in connection with an offence or a person placed under preventive detention as provided under Articles 22(1) and 22(5) of the Constitution is sacrosanct,” the Bench said.

The top court ordered Purkayasatha’s release subject to him furnishing bail bonds to the satisfaction of the trial court. Later, a Delhi court ordered his release on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount. Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur directed Purkayastha not to comment on the merits of the case or tamper with the evidence and refrain from contacting any witnesses or approver Amit Chakravarty. Purkayastha had been in custody since October 3, 2023, following his arrest by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police. According to the FIR, huge funds were provided to the news portal allegedly from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country. Purkayastha allegedly conspired with a group — People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism — to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

The Bench relied on the ruling in Pankaj Bansal’s case in which the top court had indicted the Enforcement Directorate for arbitrary exercise of powers conferred on it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Recent cases in which SC intervened

  • May 14: SC grants bail to Bhima Koregaon case accused Gautam Navlakha on the ground that he has been in jail for over four years and the trial may take years
  • April 5: SC grants bail to former Prof Shoma Sen, another accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, saying evidence didn’t prima facie indicate commission or attempt to commit any terrorist act by her

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