Judicial officers proceeded in mechanical manner, observes High Court in TV journalist case in Punjab

Chandigarh, May 10 : Protecting the constitutional rights while extending the interim bail to Times Now journalist Bhawana Gupta (Kishore) in a case of an alleged rash driving and insulting a Dalit woman in Ludhiana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that judicial officers proceeded to pass orders in a mechanical manner. Granting bail to the journalist and two others till May 22, the next date of hearing, Justice Augustine George Masih on Tuesday said, "It appears that at no stage, the provisions of the statute were actually gone into or seen. In a mechanical manner, initially the arresting officer and thereafter the judicial officers proceeded to pass orders of arrest and remand." "Continuance of a citizen in custody without there being a mandate of law i.e. illegal custody cannot be permitted. A court and that too, a constitutional court, when comes to know of the same, cannot shut its eyes to the same. "Would it be appropriate to a citizen to continue in incarceration when it is not only apparent from the allegations but an undisputed position that petitioners Mritunjay Kumar and Parmender Singh Rawat have not committed the alleged offences which are non-bailable?" Justice Masih said the allegations in the first information report (FIR) do not make out an offence against Kumar and Rawat which would be non-bailable qua them. "Under those circumstances, firstly, the officer, who had taken these two petitioners in custody, could not have done so without making them aware of the fact that they could avail of the remedy of release on submission of bail bonds or surety. The same would be the position as regards the order of remand at the hands of the Duty Magistrate as also the Special Court." Senior advocates R.S. Rai and Chetan Mittal appeared before the Bench on behalf of the petitioners. Justice Masih said: "This court grants interim bail to the two petitioners. Mritunjay Kumar and Parmender Singh Rawat are ordered to be released on interim bail to the satisfaction of the Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate, Ludhiana." The Bench also granted the respondent-state 10 days, as prayed for, to file a reply to the petition for quashing of the FIR. Earlier, Justice Masih, while hearing the petition, went through the FIR and observed that offences under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act were not made out. Gupta along with video journalist Kumar and their driver Rawat were arrested on May 5 when their car allegedly hit a woman in Ludhiana, where they had gone to cover an event to be attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. Extending support to the journalist, the Chandigarh Press Club has condemned the arrest while she was on a professional duty. Also Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit took up the issue of her arrest with Chief Minister Mann and said such incidents "do not give a good message about the state." /IANS


13 year old boy suffers subdural haemorrhage after being hit by teacher in MP s Rewa, gasping for life at Nagpur hospital
Bhopal, Sep 14 : A 13-year-old boy suffered a subdural haemorrhage after he was slapped by a teacher at a private school in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa dist

4 held in Assam for smuggling gold valued at Rs 29L
Guwahati, Sep 14 : Four persons including a woman have been arrested in Assam's Kamrup (Metro) district on Thursday for illegally possessing gold -- t

Kotak Mahindra Bank fraud ED charge sheets former Patna Branch Manager, 2 others
Patna, Sep 14 : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a charge sheet against a Kotak Mahindra Bank branch manager in Patna and two others before