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SC grants bail to journalist

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested for allegedly making objectionable comments against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media.
A vacation bench, comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi, said Right to Liberty, a fundamental right, is non-negotiable. However, the bench said the bail does not mean it approves of the journalist’s tweets or posts on social media.
The bench had on Monday taken note of the submissions of lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Kanojia’s wife Jagisha Arora, that the arrest was “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. Arora had filed a habeas corpus petition (bring the person) challenging the arrest of Kanojia and sought a direction to the Uttar Pradesh Police to release him without any delay.
In the petition, filed through lawyer Shadan Farasat, the wife of the vernacular scribe had also sought departmental action against the policemen, who were not in uniform, for arresting Kanojia from Delhi for “bailable offences”.
The plea had also sought “exemplary damages” for Kanojia for his “illegal arrest”.
“The Hindi journalist was unceremoniously taken away by men in civil dress on June 8 from his Delhi residence. It transpires that on June 7, police officials of Police Station Hazaratganj at Lucknow had lodged an FIR against him under sections 500 (criminal defamation) of the IPC and 66 of the Information Technology (IT) Act and both offences are bailable,” the plea had said.
The police were bound to release Kanojia in Delhi itself as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure as the offences alleged were bailable, it said, adding that the accused should have been granted bail on his arrest by police itself.
“No arrest memo was prepared and neither the petitioner nor her husband was told as to why he was being taken and why the ‘arresting officials’ were in civil dress,” it had said. (PTI)

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