The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 11 June, said journalist Prashant Kanojia who was arrested for an objectionable tweet against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should be released immediately on bail. The court observed that while they do not appreciate his actions, it is no grounds for putting someone behind bars.
Arrested under charges relating to Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 66 of the IT Act, the 26-year-old was lodged in the Lucknow jail and had, along with his wife Jagisha, moved the Supreme Court seeking his release.
A vacation bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi on Monday, 10 June were hearing the submission of lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Kanojia's wife, that the plea needed urgent hearing as the arrest was "illegal" and "unconstitutional".
Questioning the grounds of the arrest, Justice Indira Banerjee said "We are not appreciative of the manner of his tweets, but what we are bothered about is why he was arrested... We live in a country where there is a Constitution. Proceed against him in accordance with the law, but shouldn't be behind bars."
Claiming that the accused Journalist's right to liberty had been violated, she added " Have you ever come across an 11-day remand? Should he stay behind bars and challenge the remand order? Not very fair."
While Justice Indira Banerjee was incessant in her questioning of the arrest made by the UP Government, justifying the arrest, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Madhavi Goradia Divan said "not a case of personal vendetta, not about one tweet but a series of tweets thus his release will be construed as an endorsement of his tweets".
The Delhi-based journalist had been arrested after he shared a video on Twitter and Facebook in which 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.