Journalist Mandeep Punia granted bail by Delhi Court

Puniya has to furnish a bail bond of Rs.25,000, and a surety of the same amount, along with other bail conditions


Three days after he was arrested and sent to Tihar Jail, a Delhi Court granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia. The 25-year-old journalist, a freelancer, an independent reporter, had been sent to judicial custody after his arrest from Singhu border from where he was reporting about the farmers’ protests. 

While pronouncing the bail order today, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba after stated that it was unlikely that Punia would influence the course of the investigation and given the well-settled legal principle that bail is the rule. The order reads:  “… there is no possibility that accused/ applicant can able to influence any of the police officials. Admittedly, the accused is a freelancer journalist. Moreso, no recovery is to be effected from the accused person and keeping the accused further in Judicial Custody would not serve any cogent purpose. It is well settled legal principle of law that ‘bail is a rule and jail is an exception’. Hence, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of the present case, submissions on behalf of both the parties as well as keeping in view the period of detention of the accused in judicial custody, he is admitted to bail.”

According to a report in Bar and Bench, Puniya’s counsel contended before the Court that he is innocent and falsely implicated in the case. Puniya had been carrying out his duties along with other journalists at the protest site, submitted his lawyer, adding that the other journalist [Dharmender Singh] arrested by the police along with Puniya had been released. However, Puniya was not released because he was not carrying a press ID, as he is a freelance journalist. The legal portal reported that the State, however, argued that Puniya stood accused of grave offences including the creation of nuisance and instigating the protestors, while opposing the grant of bail. 

However, the Court noted that the “scuffle with the police” after which Puniya was arrested was stated to have taken place at 6.30 PM, but the FIR against him was only registered at 1.21 AM, the next day. The court noted, “The complainant, the victims and the witnesses in the case were all police officials,” hence there was no possibility of Puniya influencing the case.

The Court has directed that Puniya be released on bail, furnishing a “bail bond in a sum of Rs.25,000/- along with one sound surety in the like amount,” among other bail conditions.

Punia and Dharmender Singh’s arrests have been seen by the fraternity as a crackdown on journalists covering the massive farmers’ protest. While Dharmender Singh, who was carrying his press card, was released, Punia was sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a Delhi court on Sunday.  He was charged under Sections 186 (voluntarily obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The media fraternity had come together in large numbers in support of Punia and demanded his release, many shared videos of Mandeep being beaten up allegedly by police at Singhu border from where he was reporting, when he was detained.

The bail order may be read here:


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