SC orders immediate release of journalist Prashant Kanojia

In a major embarrassment to Uttar Pradesh Chief Miniter Yogi Adityanath, the Supreme Court today ordered immediate release of journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested for sharing a post against Adityanath.

Kanojia’s wife moved the Supreme Court yesterday.  He shared a video of a Kanpur-based woman making allegations against Adityanath. He was picked up from his Delhi home on Saturday morning and sent to jail in the evening. The woman has also been arrested.

The Supreme Court said that a case for arrest of the journalist not made out. “The police can proceed against him, but arrest? No,” the court said. The UP police defended Kanojia’s arrest and said he had made inflamatory tweets in the past too.

“He has been making inflamatory tweets in the past not only with respect to caste matters but also gods and godesses and that’s why he was arrested,” said additional solicitor general Vikramjeet Banerjee.

The court asked the counsel “where is the mischief made out”. “We need not comment on the nature of the posts for which the action has been taken, the question is whether, Kanojia ought to have been deprived of his liberty. The answer to that question prima facie is negative,” said a bench of justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi.

The police action against Kanojia had sparked outrage in media circles. The Editors Guild of India had criticised the arrest as “authoritarian misuse of laws”.

Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the chief minister’s office claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to Adityanath.

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