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‘Remand order is invalid’: SC orders immediate release of NewsClick editor Prabir Purkayastha

Purkayastha has been held in custody since October 2, 2023, and is currently incarcerated in Tihar jail under anti-terror legislation

Written by  Shefali Kohli -- May 15th 2024 11:50 AM
‘Remand order is invalid’: SC orders immediate release of NewsClick editor Prabir Purkayastha

‘Remand order is invalid’: SC orders immediate release of NewsClick editor Prabir Purkayastha

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared invalid the arrest and subsequent remand of NewsClick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha by the Delhi police in connection with a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta ordered the release of NewsClick founders in the case.


The apex court ordered that Purkayastha be released, subject to him furnishing surety and bail bond.

The bench, in its verdict, took into note that a copy of the remand application and grounds of arrest were not provided to Purkayastha, which violated principles of natural justice.


Pronouncing the verdict, the top court said, "A copy of the remand application was not provided to the appellant. This vitiates the arrest of the appellant... Though we would have released him without surety, since the chargesheet has been filed, we release him with surety and a bail bond."

Purkayastha has been held in custody since October 2, 2023, and is currently incarcerated in Tihar jail under anti-terror legislation. He has filed an application in a pending case seeking release on medical grounds.

Challenging his arrest under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on allegations of receiving Chinese funding to promote anti-national propaganda, Purkayastha approached the apex court. He contested the Delhi High Court's October 13, 2023, decision, which upheld the trial court's order remanding him to police custody. He has since been remanded to judicial custody.

Earlier, Amit Chakravarty, the head of NewsClick's human resources department, withdrew his petition against his arrest from the Supreme Court. A Delhi court permitted Chakravarty to become an approver in the case against the news portal.

Both Purkayastha and Chakraborty were apprehended by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3 after a search of 30 locations linked to the online news portal and its journalists. The case, filed under the UAPA, alleges that the news portal received funds for pro-China propaganda.

Subsequently, they approached the High Court to challenge their arrest and the seven-day police custody, seeking immediate release as interim relief. However, the High Court rejected their pleas, stating that it was not inclined to pass favorable orders due to the serious allegations affecting stability, integrity, sovereignty, and national security.

As per the FIR, a significant amount of funding allegedly originated from China to the news portal with the intent to disrupt India's sovereignty and incite disaffection against the country.

Speaking on the Supreme Court order, Advocate Arshdeep Khurana told ANI, "The Supreme Court has held the arrest and the remand proceedings to be illegal and has directed the release of Purkayastha. We have been directed to furnish the bail bond before the trial court. This is a major and big relief because we have been maintaining from the beginning that the entire proceedings against him were illegal and the manner of arrest was illegal which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court." 

- With inputs from agencies

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