Fundamental right of reporter to publish news even if not palatable to administration: Calcutta HC

The Court granted anticipatory bail to the journalist who reported on policemen taking bribe and causing accident due to rash driving

Calcutta HC

The Calcutta High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a journalist, Avishek Dutta Roy, who was booked after he reported on policemen collecting bribes and driving rashly, causing the death of one person. The bench comprising Justices Bibek Chaudhuri and Soumen Sen in the order dated July 30,  held that “it is the fundamental right of a press reporter to publish any news, which may not be palatable to the administration.”

While granting pre-arrest bail, the court stated that, “We feel in order to stifle and muzzle the voice of the reporter this case has been registered against the petitioner.”

The Court also directed the Superintendent of Police of that district to “immediately to initiate enquiry regarding registration of the first information report against the ETV reporter and to investigate about the collection of money by the police personnel, the incident of which has been published by the reporter and to take appropriate action against the offenders”.

The court granted anticipatory bail to the journalist and directed that in the event of arrest the petitioner shall be released on bail subject to furnishing a personal bond of Rs.2,000.

The reporter of ETV Bharat made a news report about some police personnel collecting from a truck owner carrying a truck loaded with sand. It was further reported that while chasing the truck, a vehicle owned by the police department was being driven in a rash and negligent manner causing the accident in which a person died later. He was booked by Bolpur Police Station on June 2 under charges of being part of unlawful assembly, offences relating to obstruction of public servant, wrongful restraint; offences related to public health; intentional insult and criminal intimidation.

The complete order may be read here.



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