oppn parties Bail To Prabir Purkayastha: Supreme Court Bats For Due Process

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Bail To Prabir Purkayastha: Supreme Court Bats For Due Process

By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2024-05-17 07:39:43

About the Author

Sunil Garodia The India Commentary view

The Supreme Court order granting bail to Newsclick founder Prabir Purkayastha is welcome. The court has stressed upon two things in its order. It has said that the grant of bail does not in any way affect the ongoing trial and the court has not commented on the merits of the case. But more importantly, it has said that due process must be followed and the provisions of the law must be adhered to strictly. The apex court had said in the PMLA case against Pankaj Bansal that investigating agencies must provide grounds of arrest in writing to the accused. In Purkayashta's case, it has extended this to UAPA too.

The apex court said that the arrest was illegal as it did not adhere to the provisions of Article 22(1) of the Constitution which states that "No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice." Purkayastha was not provided with a written copy of the grounds of his arrest. The court said that every accused "has a fundamental and a statutory right to be informed about the grounds of arrest in writing and a copy of such written grounds of arrest have to be furnished to the arrested person as a matter of course and without exception at the earliest."

Although stringent laws like the PMLA, the UAPA and the NDPSA provide for arrest and shift the burden of proof on the accused, even in these laws the requirement to provide reasons for arrest has been made a legal provision. Section 19(1) of the PMLA and Section 43B(1) of the UAPA make it mandatory for providing grounds of arrest to the accused. Hence, it cannot be argued that Purkayastha was granted bail on a 'technicality'. If due process is not followed, and if people are arrested without respecting their legal and fundamental rights, the law is subverted and rule of law becomes a joke.

The case against Purkayastha will go on. The investigating agencies, if they need to arrest him again, will now need to seek the court's permission and provide him a copy of the grounds on which he is arrested. That is as it should be. The strict laws, as mentioned above, were enacted for reasons of national security. Their misuse in some cases is unjust. It must stop. Moreover, due process must always be followed.