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The Supreme Court (SC), in a ruling that can have far-reaching implications, ordered the immediate release on bail of journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested for allegedly sharing objectionable material on social media about Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. More in News
  • Kanojia had on 6 June allegedly shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen telling reporters outside the chief minister’s office in Lucknow that she had sent a marriage proposal to the chief minister.
  • Kanojia was arrested on 8th June, subsequently, Kanojia’s wife filed a habeas corpus petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, which requires the arrested person to be brought before the court.
    • Appearing for UP, Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee said the petitioner should have first approached the High Court for relief instead of coming straight to the SC with a petition under Article 32.
    • But the court differed with the government, saying Article 32 enshrined a fundamental right. The Bench threatened to use its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to do complete justice in the Kanojia case.
    • Article 32 provides the right to Constitutional remedies which means that a person has the right to move to SC (and high courts also) for getting his fundamental rights protected. While the Supreme Court has the power to issue writs under article 32, High Courts have been given the same powers under article 226.
  • A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi called Kanojia’s arrest as “excessive”.
  • The court called the action taken by the Uttar Pradesh government a “glaring case of deprivation of liberty” in which a citizen had been sent to custody for 13/14 days.
  • However, the court made clear that its order for his release on bail should not be read as approval of his social media posts.
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