Freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh government for posting derogatory tweets about Gods, Goddesses and inflammatory posts on UP CM Yogi Adityanath, was ordered to be released by the apex court earlier today.
Hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Kanojia’s wife, Jagisha Arora, seeking his release, the vacation bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Ajay Rastogi passed the order. The bench observed that the arrest and remand were illegal, violating the principle of ‘Liberty’ enshrined in the constitution.
However, in its verdict, the Supreme Court has mandated that proceedings against Kanojia will continue as per law. It also stated that the order should not be interpreted as approval for his comments on social media.
The Court said, “It is made clear that this Order is not to be construed as an approval of
the posts/tweets in the social media. This order is passed in view of the excessiveness of the action taken.” “Needless to mention that the proceedings will take their own course in accordance with the law,” it added.
The verdict also stated, “We need not comment on the nature of the posts/tweets for which the action has been taken. The question is whether the petitioner’s husband-Prashant Kanojia ought to have been deprived of his liberty for the offence alleged. The answer to that question is prima facie in the negative.”
On Saturday, the UP police officials picked up Prashant Kanojia after a case was registered at Hazratganj police station, Lucknow. The arrest was made after he was accused of spreading rumours on social media. The police officials had confirmed that the accused has confessed to his crime.
A case was registered under IPC section 500 (defamation), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and section 67 of the IT act (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).