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Allahabad High Court stays arrest of Wire editor and reporter in farmer death case

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The Allahabad High Court recently stayed the arrest of Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of web news portal thewire.in, and Ismat Ara, a reporter.

The Division Bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Writ Petition filed by Siddharth Varadarajan And Another.

The writ petition has been filed for following reliefs:-

“a) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of Certiorari calling for the records of the case and quashing the impugned First Information Report dated January 31, 2021 in Case Crime no.27/2021 under Sections 153-B, 505(2) of IPC registered against petitioners at P.S. Civil Lines, District Rampur.

b) Issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus commanding the respondent no.2 or his subordinate officers not to harass/arrest the petitioners pursuant to the impugned First Information Report dated January 31, 2021 in Case Crime no.27/2021 under Sections 153-B, 505(2) of IPC registered against petitioners at P.S. Civil Lines, District Rampur.”

The Court has granted the Additional Government Advocate three weeks’  time to file a counter affidavit.

“Rejoinder Affidavit, if any, may be filed within one week thereafter. Till then no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioners pursuant to interim protection provided by the Apex Court in Writ Petition(s) (Criminal) No(s).371/2021 (Foundation For Independent Journalism and others vs. State of U.P. and others),” the Court ordered.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on November 24, 2021. In this matter, a case has been registered against the petitioners regarding the story of the death of farmer Navreet Singh during the protest in Delhi.

The police say that the story is based on false facts, an attempt has been made to spread hatred and damage the peace between the two communities.

Siddharth Varadarajan challenged the matter in the Supreme Court, who directed him to go to the High Court. On which this petition has been filed.

Sanju Turiha of Rampur filed a report against the web portal that the story published about the farmer has misled people about the death. The article caused huge outrage among a section of the people of Rampur and created tension between the two communities.

In the published story, the grandfather of the deceased was quoted as saying that the doctor who conducted his post-mortem told that Navreet died due to bullet injury.  Later, Rampur police denied this and said that no doctor has told any such thing to the media or any person.

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