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‘Can He Be Put In Jail For Tweets’: SC Which Mocked Defence Analyst For Similar ‘Crime’, Orders Journalist’s Release

Author: Swarajya Staff
Publication: Swarajyamag.com
Date: June 11, 2019
URL:      https://swarajyamag.com/insta/can-he-be-put-in-jail-for-tweets-sc-which-mocked-defence-analyst-for-similar-crime-orders-journalists-release

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (11 June) granted bail to a journalist arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police for online comments against state Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath as well as posting insulting tweets against gods, religious sentiments and community practices.

However, the apex court allowed the state government to proceed with the case against him in accordance with the law.

According to a LiveLaw report, the vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi passed the order in a habeas corpus petition filed by the wife of journalist Prashant Kanojia, seeking his release.

Appearing on behalf of the UP government, Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee reportedly told the bench that the arrest was necessary. He also apprised the court that Kanojia’s arrest was not merely for comments against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and cited several of his tweets from as early as December 2017, which were insulting gods, religious sentiments and community practices.

However, the bench observed that his arrest and remand was illegal, resulting in the deprivation of personal liberty. "We do not appreciate his tweets. But can he be put behind bars for that?", asked Justice Banerjee.

The Court, therefore, ordered that Kanojia should be released on bail. It, however, also made it clear that the State can proceed against Kanojia in accordance with law.

Incidentally, a few months ago, a Supreme Court bench had mocked defence analyst Abhijeet Iyer-Mitra when he had sought protection from arrest by the Odisha government over a satirical video.

As reported, a Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice had remarked that, “If your life is in danger, then what better place to stay than jail? Your life will be secure (in jail)”.

Mitra was subsequently arrested by the Naveen Patnaik led Odisha government and had to spend almost 45 days in jail before the government dropped the charges.
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