An order granting anticipatory bail was passed by a Division Bench of the Calcutta High court yesterday in favour of the editor of a web portal. A case was registered by West Bengal government against Upendra Pradhan, who is the editor of a web portal titles Darjeeling Chronicle, in January this year for allegedly inciting one community against another which is an offence under section 505 of the Indian Penal Code. This happened after he published an article. The court said it considered the materials on record and the nature of the allegations while granting the anticipatory to Pradhan.
Pradhan’s advocate Ananad Bhandari said that he was being charged continuously by the police failed to disclose any facts. “He was being continuously charged by the police and the allegations are baseless. The police had not disclosed the facts that constitute an offence under section 505 of the IPC”, Bhandari said. He also said that the FIR was filed quite late.
Upendra Pradhan is a Darjeeling based political analyst, and he is the editor at large at The Darjeeling Chronicle. He also writes for several other publications including OpIndia. He supports the cause of a separate Gorkhaland, and is a severe critic of the West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, which has earned him the ire of the state govt.
Earlier in June this year, the Supreme Court had stayed three FIRs filed by the West Bengal government against OpIndia English editor Nupur J. Sharma, OpIndia Hindi editor Ajeet Bharti, CEO Rahul Roushan, and Vaibhav Sharma, husband of Nupur but not associated with the portal. A vacation Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai heard the matter via video conferencing and passed the stay order. The court had also issued a notice to the government of West Bengal.