Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Supreme Court orders release of NewsClick’s Prabir Purkayastha in UAPA case, calls his arrest illegal

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared NewsClick founder and veteran journalist Prabir Purkayastha’s arrest and his remand in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 illegal, Live Law reported.

Purkayastha is in custody since October 2 last year under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The apex court noted that a copy of the remand application was not provided to the appellant or his counsel before passing the remand order on 4 October last year.

Therefore, the top court held that the arrest and the remand are vitiated.

“There is no hesitation in the mind of the Court to reach to a conclusion that a copy of the remand application, in the purported exercise of the communication of the grounds of arrest in writing, was not provided to the accused-appellant or his counsel before the passing of the remand order dated 4th October, 2023, which vitiates the arrest and the subsequent remand of the appellant. As a result, the appellant is entitled to a direction for release from custody by applying the ration of the judgment rendered by this court in Pankaj Bansal,” the top pronounced.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta delivered the verdict, after having concluded arguments on April 30.

Co-accused and NewsClick human resources head Amit Chakraborty had also approached the top court challenging his arrest, but he was allowed to withdraw his plea after he turned approver for the Enforcement Directorate and was granted a pardon.

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