NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today granted bail to arrested freelance journalist Mandeep Punia.
Punia was arrested by Delhi Police from the Singhu border point between Delhi and Haryana on Sunday under various sections of the Indian Penal Code on charges of obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions’. He was granted bail by the Rohini court on a guarantee of Rs 25,000.
“It is a well-settled legal principle of law that ‘bail is a rule and jail is an exception’,” the bail order said.
Rohini court chief metropolitan magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba, in the order, said: “It is alleged that the accused had pushed Ct (constable) Rajkumar towards the protesting place, therefore, the police called the minimal force to control the situation. Thereafter, the protesters went away… and the accused/applicant fell in the drain, upon which he was overpowered and arrested.”
“It is pertinent to mention here that the alleged scuffle incident of the present case is of around 6.30 pm. However, the present FIR was registered around 1.21 am on the next day.
“Moreover, the complainant, victims, and witnesses are police personnel only. Hence, there is no possibility that accused/applicant can … influence any of the police officials,” the order said.
Punia, in his bail plea, argued that he was a freelancer and was carrying out his duty along with other journalists at the protest site. He contended that another journalist was also detained by the police but released in the midnight. However, he was not released as he was not carrying any press identity card.
Media reports suggest that Punia was allegedly thrashed by a mob for exposing police role in violence at Singhu border before being handed over to the police.
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