Newsclick case: Delhi High Court questions remand Order for not mentioning grounds of arrest

The Delhi High Court has sought a reply from the Delhi police in petitions challenging the first information report, arrest and the remand Order against Newsclick founder Prabir Purkayastha and head of human resource Amit Chakravarty. The court will hear the petitions on Monday.

TODAY, Justice Tushar Rao Gedela of the Delhi High Court questioned the remand Order of the Delhi police against Newsclick founder Prabir Purkayastha and its head of human resource Amit Chakravarty.

Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested on October 3 in an alleged terror-funding case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections 153A read with 120B of the Indian Penal Code for purportedly carrying “Chinese propaganda” on the news website. They were remanded to police custody for seven days.

The court was hearing petitions filed by Purkayastha and Chakravarty challenging their arrest and the first information report (FIR) respectively. The petitions also challenge the remand Order as it does not mention the grounds of arrest.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal is representing Purkayastha. At the outset, Sibal informed the court that the grounds of arrest were not conveyed to his client.

The high court, while hearing the petitions, questioned the remand Order. The court said: “Apparently, in the remaining application, you have not disclosed the ground of arrest. Today, there is a Supreme Court judgment which stares in the eye.”

The court was referring to the recent judgment of the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Sanjay Kumar in which the court held: “Article 22(1) of the Constitution being the fundamental right guaranteed to the arrested person, the mode of conveying information of the grounds of arrest must necessarily be meaningful so as to serve the intended purpose”.

In that case, the court castigated the Directorate of Enforcement for arresting the M3M India directors Pankaj Bansal and Basant Bansal in breach of Section 19(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Sibal prayed that Purkayastha be released immediately as the arrest is “entirely illegal”. 

However, the court refused, stating that the allegations were not of such nature that the accused persons could be released immediately.

The Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State, while challenging the petitions, stated that the petitions had come four days after the arrest.

Sibal replied that they had received the copy of the FIR only yesterday.

The high court has sought a reply from Delhi police on Monday.

In Chakravarty’s case, his petition mentions that he is physically challenged. The court has asked the Delhi police to ensure that his medical condition is not compromised.

What has happened so far?

Yesterday, Delhi Police opposed a plea of Purkayastha and Chakravarty seeking a copy of the FIR against them.

The police termed the application of Purkayastha and Chakravarty as “premature” before a Patiala House Court.

According to the police, Purkayastha and Chakravarty should have first approached the office of the commissioner for a copy of the FIR.

Subsequently, the court allowed a copy of the FIR to be furnished to them.


As per the official statement released by Newsclick, raids were carried out by the special cell of the Delhi police at various locations including Newsclick’s office, residents of the journalists and employees associated with Newsclick on October 3.

The police seized electronic devices from Newsclick’s office and elsewhere during the raids.

The statement noted: “We have not been provided with a copy of the FIR, or informed about the exact particulars of the offences with which we have been charged.”

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