Prabir Purkayastha

Supreme Court: In a plea filed by Prabir Purkayastha, Chief editor of online news portal NewsClick, challenging his arrest and remand by the Delhi Police in connection with a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, the division bench of BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta, JJ. has set aside his arrest and remand and ordered his release subject to him furnishing surety and bail bond.

Background:

Prabir Purkayastha was booked under the UAPA and was arrested on 03-10-2023, following a series of raids conducted due to allegations made in a New York Times article that NewsClick was being paid to boost Chinese propaganda. As per the First Information Report, Prabir Purkayastha has alleged to have illegally received crores of rupees in foreign funds and used the same with an intention to disrupt the sovereignty, unity and security of India.

The Delhi High Court upheld the Trial Court’s decision to remand Prabir Purkayastha to police custody. The High Court held that the Pankaj Bansal (supra) is not squarely applicable to arrests made under the UAPA. Thereafter he filed the present petition challenging his arrest and remand.

Court’s order:

The Court said that a copy of the remand application was not provided to Prabir Purkayastha, or his counsel before passing the remand order on 04-10-2023, thus the grounds of the arrest were not supplied to him in writing. This vitiates his arrest following Pankaj Bansal v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1244.

The Bench said that it would have released him without surety, but since chargesheet has been filed, it is releasing him with surety and bail bond.

Source: Press

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