Indian court grants bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia
01:18 PM, June 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:56 PM, June 11, 2019

Indian court grants bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia

India’s Supreme Court today granted bail to journalist Prashant Kanojia who was arrested for allegedly making objectionable comments against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media.

A vacation bench, comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi, said the right to liberty, a fundamental right, is sacrosanct and non-negotiable as it granted bail.

However, the bench said granting bail does not mean that it approves of the journalist's tweets or posts on social media.

The apex court was hearing a petition by freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia's wife who challenged her husband’s arrest on Saturday. The petition termed the arrest was "illegal" and "unconstitutional".

The journalist's wife Jageesha Arora had filed a habeas corpus (bring the person) petition challenging the arrest of Kanojia. 

A total of five people, including Prashant Kanojia, were arrested in two days on the charges of posting allegedly objectionable content about the UP Chief Minister.

"It is made clear this order is not construed as an approval of tweets," the Supreme Court said, while hearing Jagisha Arora's petition filed on Monday.

The Editors Guild of India has termed the journalists' arrests as "high-handed and arbitrary" and said it amounted to "authoritarian misuse of laws".

Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in Delhi on Saturday for a tweet that had "objectionable comments" on Yogi Adityanath. Mr Kanojia, was picked up from his home in Delhi after a complaint by a police officer in Lucknow, alleging he tried to "malign" Yogi Adityanath's image.

An FIR was registered against Kanojia by a sub-inspector at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on Friday night in which it was alleged that the accused made "objectionable comments against the Chief Minister and tried to malign his image".

Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside Yogi Adityanath's office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.

The head of a private news channel and its editor were also arrested. 

During a debate on the channel on June 6, the woman, whose video was shared by Kanojia, had allegedly made defamatory statements against Yogi Adityanath, the police said.

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