Supreme Court grants bail to Prashant Kanojia Says Fundamental Rights under Articles 19, 21are non-negotiable

Team SoOLEGAL 12 Jun 2019 2:00pm

Supreme Court grants bail to Prashant Kanojia Says Fundamental Rights under Articles 19, 21are non-negotiable

The Supreme Court granted bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia who was arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police for tweets against Yogi Adityanath. The petition was filed by wife of Prashant Kanojia seeking issuance of writ of Habeas Corpus.

A Bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi made strong remarks against the Uttar Pradesh Police and State of Uttar Pradesh and also turned down the submission of the State that the petitioner should approach the lower court or High Court for bail.

When the hearing began, Additional Solicitor General Vikramajit Banerjee appeared for Uttar Pradesh stated that the remand order has been passed by the Judicial Magistrate and so, Article 32 petition should not be allowed.

“Arrest? A citizen’s right to liberty has been infringed. We have gone through the records… These sort of tweets should not be made, but arrest?”  questioned Justice Indira Banerjee.

Justice Rastogi questioned on what basis has Section 505 of IPC has been invoked. Counsel for Uttar Pradesh sought to place reliance on older tweets by Kanojia.

“We went through his Twitter timeline, He has made tweets about gods and goddesses, tweets not restricted to political figures. His tweets are very strong, very inflammatory”, stated as a ground for adding Section 505.

Justice Banerjee also said that the order for remanding him to judicial custody by Judicial Magistrate was not appropriate.

“June 22? He’s remanded for 11 days?”, questioned Justice Rastogi.

“Is this a murder charge?”, demanded Justice Banerjee.

Additional Solicitor General contended that the challenge to the same has to be made in a lower court or High Court.

“There is a judgment of Constitution Bench of Supreme Court on this”, he said.

Justice Banerjee stated that the Supreme Court can pass any order under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice.

“Court does not ordinarily entertain A.32 but the Article is there in Constitution for those whose freedom is affected. When something is so glaring, can court hold its hands and say go to High Court?”, stated Justice Banerjee.

Justice Banerjee also contended, “We do not appreciate these tweets, but can you put him behind bars for this?”

The Court, therefore, ordered that Kanojia should be released on bail.

“The Court need not comment on the contents of the tweets. The question is, should the petitioner have been deprived of his liberty over them. The answer to that is prima facie in the negative. The fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India and in particular Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India are non-negotiable.”

The Court Order, in this regard, said,

“As a matter of self imposed discipline and considering the pressure of mounting cases on this Court, it has become the practice of this Court to ordinarily direct that the High Court first be approached even in cases of violation of fundamental rights. However, Article 32 which is itself a fundamental right cannot be rendered nugatory in a glaring case of deprivation of liberty as in the instant case”

The Court further stated that it can use its power under Article 142 to do complete justice and cannot “sit back on technical grounds.”

“We are not inclined to sit back on technical grounds. In exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India this Court can mould the reliefs to do complete justice.”

The Court thus, directed Kanojia to be released on bail immediately on conditions to the satisfaction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The Court, however, stated that the order for release is not to be affirmed as an approval of the tweets posted by Kanojia and such proceedings against Kanojia shall take place in accordance with law.


Tagged: prashantkanojia   yogiadityanath   supremecourt   bail   fundamentalright  
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