Supreme Court declares arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha invalid, orders immediate release

Supreme Court declares arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha invalid, orders immediate release

In a significant turn of events, the Supreme Court of India has ordered the immediate release of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha, declaring his arrest by Delhi Police as invalid. The court's decision marks a pivotal point in the ongoing legal battle related to a terror funding case.

NewsClick Founder's Arrest Invalid, Orders SC NewsClick Founder's Arrest Invalid, Orders SC

In a significant development, the Supreme Court of India has declared the arrest and subsequent remand of NewsClick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha by the Delhi Police as invalid. The apex court ordered his immediate release on Wednesday, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing legal battle.


Purkayastha had been in custody related to a terror funding case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). However, a bench comprising justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta deemed his arrest and remand unlawful and ordered his release in light of this decision.


The Supreme Court's verdict came after Purkayastha approached the highest judicial authority challenging his arrest under the UAPA, alleging Chinese funding to promote anti-national propaganda. The court noted that a copy of the remand application and grounds of arrest were not provided to Purkayastha, thereby violating the principles of natural justice.


According to the bench, the absence of essential documentation rendered the arrest of Purkayastha invalid. Despite the chargesheet being filed, the court decided to release him on the condition of furnishing surety and a bail bond.


Purkayastha, who had been in custody since October 2, 2023, was lodged in Tihar jail under the UAPA. He had applied for release on medical emergency grounds, prompting his plea to challenge his arrest before the Supreme Court.


The legal battle surrounding Purkayastha's arrest gained attention after allegations of receiving funds for pro-China propaganda surfaced. Alongside Purkayastha, NewsClick's human resources department head Amit Chakravarty had also been embroiled in the case. However, Chakravarty withdrew his plea against arrest, subsequently becoming an approver in the case against the media house.


The arrests of Purkayastha and Chakraborty occurred following raids conducted at 30 locations linked to NewsClick and its journalists. Allegations of undermining India's sovereignty and fostering disaffection against the nation led to their arrest under the UAPA.


Despite attempts to challenge their arrest, including appeals to the High Court seeking immediate release, Purkayastha and Chakraborty found their pleas rebuffed due to the gravity of the alleged offenses affecting national security.


In response to the Supreme Court's ruling, Advocate Arshdeep Khurana conveyed relief, stating that the court has deemed the arrest and remand proceedings illegal, directing Purkayastha's release. This ruling underscores a significant turn in the legal proceedings, affirming the importance of upholding principles of justice and legality.

Edited By: Krishna Medhi
Published On: May 15, 2024