May 28, 2024

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha | Prabir Purkayastha via Facebook


NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha was released from the Tihar Jail here on Wednesday, hours after the Supreme Court declared his arrest “invalid”.


Purkayastha had been lodged in the jail since November 2 last year.


The Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Purkayastha on October 3 last year under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly receiving money to peddle pro-China propaganda through stories.


According to his lawyer Arshdeep Singh Khurana, Purkayastha came out of jail number 10 of the prison in Rohini at 9 pm. His family members and friends received him outside the jail complex.


Observing that the right to life and personal liberty was the “most sacrosanct” fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 20, 21 and 22 of the Constitution, the apex court said any person arrested over allegations of commission of offences under the UAPA or other offences has a fundamental and a statutory right to be informed about the grounds of arrest in writing.


A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta said a copy of such written grounds of arrest have to be furnished to the arrested person as a “matter of course and without exception at the earliest”.


“From the detailed analysis made above, there is no hesitation in the mind of the court to reach to a conclusion that the copy of the remand application in the purported exercise of communication of the grounds of arrest in writing was not provided to the accused appellant (Purkayastha) or his counsel before passing of the order of remand dated October 4, 2023, which vitiates the arrest and subsequent remand of the appellant,” the bench said.


The top court delivered its verdict on Purkayastha’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s October 13 last year order dismissing his petition against arrest and subsequent police remand.


In its verdict, the bench said, “Accordingly, the arrest of the appellant followed by remand order dated October 4, 2023 and so also the impugned order passed by the High Court of Delhi dated October 13, 2023 are hereby declared to be invalid in the eyes of law and are quashed and set aside”.

First Published: May 15 2024 | 11:56 PM IST