India

Delhi court grants bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia arrested from Singhu border on Jan. 31

Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia. Photo: Twitter

Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia. Photo: Twitter

A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was arrested on January 31 by the Delhi Police at the Singhu border, where farmers are agitating against the three new Central agricultural laws.

Also read: Journalist arrested from Singhu for ‘misbehaving’ with policemen

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba, while granting bail to Mr. Punia, asked him not to indulge in similar offence and to join the investigation as and when required by the investigating agency.

Mr. Punia was detained for allegedly ‘obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions’.

The prosecution said he pushed a constable towards the protest place, following which the police used “minimal force to control the situation”. As the protesters moved away, Mr. Punia fell in a drain, upon which he was overpowered and arrested.

Scuffles

The prosecution said the movement of any public person was restricted towards the protest site and barricades were placed for security following scuffles between the protesters and locals.

Also read: Police blocks entry to journalists, others to protest site at Singhu Border

The court, however, pointed out that the alleged scuffle of the present case happened around 6.30 p.m. and the FIR was registered around 1.21 a.m. the next day. “Moreover, the complainant, victims and witnesses are police personnel only. Hence, there is no possibility that the accused/applicant [Mr. Punia] can be able to influence any of the police officials,” it said.

Mr. 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 apprehended by the police but released in the midnight. However, he was not released as he was not carrying any press ID card.

Noting the well-settled legal principle of law that “bail is a rule and jail is an exception”, the court granted bail to Mr. Punia, saying that keeping him further in judicial custody would not serve any cogent purpose.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:35:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-court-grants-bail-to-freelance-journalist-mandeep-punia/article33730534.ece