Delhi HC likely to pronounce order on plea by NewsClick founder against arrest today
NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakravarty were arrested by the Delhi Police's Special Cell and subsequently placed in seven-day police custody
The Delhi High Court is likely to pronounce on Friday, 13 October, its order on pleas by NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakravarty challenging their arrest in a case lodged under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Justice Tushar Rao Gedela had reserved the order on Monday even as senior advocate for Purkayastha, Kapil Sibal, argued that "all facts are false and not a penny came from China".
The Delhi Police's Special Cell had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on 3 October, and the next day, they were sent to seven-day police custody by a Delhi court.
The petitioners then moved the High Court challenging not just their arrest but seeking quashing of the First Information Report in the matter. The High Court reserved the order, and on the other hand, Delhi's Patiala House Courts on Tuesday sent them to a 10-day judicial custody on expiry of their police remand.
Before the High Court, Sibal had said that no grounds for arrest have been supplied to them, and that only the arrest memo is the document which has been produced.
Sibal made various claims against their arrest saying that the remand order was passed by the trial court in the absence of their lawyers, when the remand order was passed at 6 a.m., Purkayastha’s lawyer received it through WhatsApp only at 7 a.m.
It was argued that the arrests made were in violation of the Supreme Court’s recent judgement, which had made it compulsory for the police to supply "written" grounds of arrest to the accused at the time of being arrested.
Appearing virtually for Delhi Police, S.G. Mehta said that the case involves serious offences.
He further argued that one of the email exchanges between the accused individuals and somebody sitting in China shows that they will prepare a map and not show Arunachal Pradesh to be a part of India.
The SG's claim was then denied by Sibal.
Sticking to his argument, Mehta said that the arrest was legal as per the textual requirement of the UAPA since the accused persons were informed about the grounds of arrest.
Mehta went on to say that since the police remand is coming to an end, the accused can be sent to judicial custody, post which they can apply for regular bail.
After hearing the matter at length, the judge had reserved the order.
The Special Cell had registered an FIR in connection with the case on 17 August under different sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code against NewsClick.
In August, a New York Times investigation had accused NewsClick of being an organisation funded by a network linked with US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.