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NewsClick Case: Providing Grounds Of Arrest In Writing Not Necessary Under UAPA, Says Delhi Police

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakraborty were informed of the grounds for their arrest, Delhi police told the Supreme Court on Monday, arguing that supplying the grounds of arrest specifically in writing is not necessary under UAPA. 

Delhi Police raids NewsClick premises
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NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakraborty were informed of the grounds for their arrest, Delhi police told the Supreme Court on Monday, arguing that supplying the grounds of arrest specifically in writing is not necessary under UAPA. 

Both the NewsClick employees are lodged under judicial custody in an anti-terror law UAPA case registered by Special Cell of Delhi Police for allegedly receiving money to spread pro-China propaganda. They were arrested on October 3 after the Delhi police conducted raids on several journalists associated with the news portal. 

Purkayastha and Chakraborty had contended before the Delhi High Court earlier that they were not provided with grounds of arrest in writing. The duo placed reliance on Supreme Court's recent judgment in Pankaj Bansal, wherein the top court quashed arrests by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for not furnishing the grounds of arrest in writing to the detainees.

"The two were not served with the grounds of arrest. Bansal (judgment) says orally communicating reasons for arrest is no communication. It has no value at all," Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Purkayastha, argued. 

On the other hand, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta contended before the high court that while the grounds of arrest had not been supplied, the duo had been informed of them.

In response to these arguments, Additional Solicitor-General SV Raju said that Pankaj Bansal's case was in the context of the peculiar provisions of the PMLA, which are missing in the UAPA. "Its ratio cannot be bodily picked up and applied to the UAPA," he argued. 

He further said that, requirements of Article 22 of the constitution (Any person who is in custody has to be informed as to why he has been arrested) were met in this case in as much as Purkayastha and Chakraborty were informed of the reasons for their arrest.

The arrest memo also mentioned the reasons for the arrest, which are to prevent them from committing any further offence, to ensure proper investigation, and prevent any attempt to tamper with evidence, he said, according to a report by LiveLaw. "It also does not say 'informed in writing', but only 'informed'," the ASG argued.

NewsClick has alleged that investigating agencies were abusing the process of law to subject it to criminal prosecution to create a "chilling effect".

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