The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to immediately release journalist Prashant Kanojia who was arrested for posting a tweet on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The court had sought valid justification from the police for Kanojia’s arrest.
He was arrested on Saturday for posting a video in which a woman claimed to have sent a marriage proposal to CM Adityanath. Soon the video made it to headlines of Nation Live, a Noida-based channel that aired the video. This led to the arrest of channel editor Anuj Shukla and head Ishika Singh.
The bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi took note of the plea of Prashant’s wife Jigisha Arora that sought an urgent hearing in the case and called the arrest illegal and unconstitutional.
An FIR was registered against Prashant at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow in which UP Police alleged that the accused made objectionable comments against the CM to malign his image. The police had countered the bail application filed by Jigisha arguing that Prashant had posted against the politicians and public personalities in the past as well and that most of his posts had inflammatory content against God and religion.
The Supreme Court lashed out at UP Police for curtailing the right to liberty of an individual. Though it said something of this sort should not have been published by Kanojia, the arrest was not required and asked the police for the provision under which Prashant was arrested.
During the Lok Sabha elections, Priyanka Sharma, a BJP youth wing functionary, was arrested in West Bengal for posting a meme of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that was a morphed onto to a picture of actor Priyanka Chopra at the Met Gala.