Laws and Justice

Supreme Court declares NewsClick founder's arrest under UAPA invalid

Main image to the post Supreme Court declares NewsClick founder's arrest under UAPA invalid

The Supreme Court has declared the arrest and subsequent remand of NewsClick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha by the Delhi police as invalid. This decision came after a bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta ordered Purkayastha's release in connection with a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The apex court highlighted that Purkayastha was not provided with a copy of the remand application and the grounds of his arrest, which was deemed a violation of natural justice.

Prabir Purkayastha has been in custody since October 2, 2023, under anti-terror laws and has been lodged in Tihar jail. He had approached the Supreme Court to challenge his arrest under the UAPA over alleged Chinese funding linked to promoting anti-national propaganda. Purkayastha challenged the Delhi High Court's order upholding the trial court's decision to remand him to police custody and has since been kept in judicial custody. The arrest was based on allegations of receiving funds from China to promote anti-India propaganda.

NewsClick's human resources department head, Amit Chakravarty, also faced legal actions in connection with the case and had withdrawn his petition challenging his arrest. Chakravarty was allowed by a Delhi court to become an approver in the case against the news portal. The arrests of Purkayastha and Chakraborty by the Delhi Police's Special Cell were made after searches at 30 locations connected with the news portal and its journalists. Allegedly, the funds received were aimed at disrupting India's sovereignty and causing disaffection against the nation according to the FIR.

Additionally, Advocate Arshdeep Khurana commented on the Supreme Court's ruling, stating that the Court deemed the arrest and remand proceedings illegal, directing Purkayastha's release and the furnishing of a bail bond before the trial court. Khurana emphasized that they have maintained from the beginning that the proceedings against Purkayastha were illegal and the arrest was conducted unlawfully, a sentiment now validated by the Supreme Court's decision.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09