Saturday, May 18th, 2024

What was the flaw in the arrest of the founder of Newsclick, which was canceled by the Supreme Court?

New Delhi : The Supreme Court said that the arrest and remand of Newsclick founder Prabir Purkayastha in the UAPA case is invalid and void in the eyes of law. The court said that the grounds of arrest have to be given in writing in the remand application and in the present case, the copy of the remand was not provided to the accused Prabir and his lawyer before the remand order. The court said that if a copy of the remand application is not provided to the accused before the remand order on October 4, 2023, his arrest and remand get cancelled. In such a situation the accused is entitled to release. The court cited the decision given by the apex court in Pankaj Bansal case and said that the order of Delhi High Court is not valid in the eyes of law and that order is quashed.

Asked to file bail bond before the trial court
The top court said that we could have asked for release without bail bond and surety. But since the charge sheet has been filed in the case, the accused will have to pay bail bond before the trial court. The Supreme Court bench led by Justice BR Gavai had reserved the decision on April 30 after the hearing. Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared on behalf of Delhi Police, while senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of petitioner Prabir. After the court’s decision, Additional Solicitor General Raju said that since the arrest has been declared invalid, the police should not be stopped from the power of arrest. On this the Supreme Court has said that we do not want to make any comment. Whatever power you have within the limits of the law, is permitted by the law.

The arrest and remand were challenged
On October 18 last year, Newsclick Chief Editor Prabir Purkayastha had filed an application in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Delhi High Court. Delhi Police has registered a case against them under UAPA and arrested them. Delhi High Court had declared the arrest valid, after which the matter now reached the Supreme Court. In the hearing, Sibal had said that this matter is related to the journalist and he is in police custody. Sibal had said that the accused were not informed about the grounds for arrest and this is a violation of the scheme of the Constitution. Copy of FIR was not given. A copy of the remand was not given before the arrest and remand order. This is a violation of the right to life under Articles 20, 21 and 22. The petitioner was caught at night and the grounds for the arrest were not disclosed. He was produced at the Magistrate’s house at six in the morning and taken on remand and at 7.05 in the morning his lawyer was informed on WhatsApp.

Delhi Police claimed, arrest memo was given

The Additional Solicitor General, appearing for Delhi Police, said that the accused was verbally informed about the grounds for arrest and was also given an arrest memo. The Supreme Court said that the law says that FIR is not an encyclopedia. The investigating officer has the right to investigate and file a charge sheet. Sibal’s argument is that UAPA was imposed, but how it is connected was not told.

What was the basis for arrest given?

The question was raised whether the grounds for arrest were disclosed? The Supreme Court said that we have seen the arrest memo and the grounds for arrest are not written anywhere in it. In the arrest memo which is usually executed, the formal reason for the arrest is recorded. There is a difference between the reason for arrest and the basis for arrest. In this, the grounds are enumerated in detail as to why the arrest was necessary and it is necessary to provide them to the accused, because on the basis of them the accused can defend himself during remand and present arguments during bail.

High Court order rejected

The Supreme Court said that we do not doubt that the remand application contains grounds for arrest and before the remand was granted, that copy was neither given to the petitioner nor provided to his lawyer. In such a situation, the accused are entitled to release. The arrest of the accused, the remand order and the order of the High Court are declared invalid in the eyes of law.

Why will this case become a precedent?

The decision given by the Supreme Court in the present case will have far-reaching consequences. In fact, for this the Supreme Court has referred to the decision of the apex court in the Pankaj Bansal case. In October last year, the Supreme Court had said in the Pankaj Bansal case that the accused should be informed about the arrest, what is the basis of his arrest and it is necessary to tell him in writing. There can be no exception to this. Now in the present case, the arrest and remand of accused Prabir was declared invalid on the ground that during the remand he was not told in writing what was the basis of the arrest. Now the decision given by the Supreme Court will become an example for the upcoming cases.

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