A Delhi court has granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia on Tuesday. Delhi Police took Punia into custody during the farmers’ protest from Singhu Border in Delhi on January 30.
Delhi’s Rohini court issued bail to Punia on a bond of Rs 25,000 and asked him not to leave the country until the court permits him. “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,” the court said.
The court observed that there is no possibility that the accused can influence police officers. “….there is no possibility that the accused can influence any of the police officials. Admittedly, the accused is a freelance journalist and not carrying an ID card can be no ground for a case or arrest. More so, no recovery is to be effected from the accused person and keeping the accused further in judicial custody would not serve any cogent purpose,” the court order read.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba reserved an order on Punia’s bail application on Monday. Delhi Police opposed the Punia’s bail plea stating that he may provoke protesters and create disturbance at the protest site.
On January 30, Delhi Police took Punia into custody while he was covering the farmers’ protest at Singhu Border. Police filed an FIR and charged him under Section 186 (obstructing any public servant while discharging public functions), Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and Section 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. A massive outrage broke out over Punia’s arrest. Journalists and netizens demanded Punia’s release.