A Journalist and others, accused of destroying ballot boxes and firing during gram panchayat elections in UP were granted anticipatory bail by Allahabad HC. This was granted by a Single-Judge Bench of Justice Rajeev Singh on June 9, while hearing a criminal miscellaneous anticipatory bail application filed by Shiv Prasad Harijan and another on behalf of the applicants in a case registered under relevant Sections of Indian Penal Code, Criminal Law Amendment Act, and Peoples Representation Act at Police Station Kandhai in district Pratapgarh of Uttar Pradesh.
Shiv Prasad, as a reporter of Hindi newspaper Pratap Kiran, reported that On April 19, 2021, the election of gram panchayat was scheduled and he was covering the news at polling booth (village Utrash), wherein he reported about the irregularities on the polling both by authorities and influential people via Twitter. The annoyed authorities and police beat up the voters on the spot. On objecting, an FIR was lodged and the villagers and applicants along with their families were dragged into this, because of the coverage of mismanagement of authorities
The applicant’s counsel opposed the allegations of firing and destruction of ballot boxes by the villagers as the police intended to arrest them due to the reporting and coverage on Twitter. He also states that the applicants are entitled to get anticipatory bail instead of their cooperation in the investigation. Whereas the Additional Government Advocate opposed the anticipatory bail by stating the instructions of the FIR.
The Court ordered that till the next date of listing, Shiv Prasad and Ramdhari in the aforesaid case shall be released forthwith by the Station House Officer of the police station concerned, on their furnishing personal bond of Rs 50,000 with the following conditions:
- The applicant shall show up for interrogations as and when required.
- The applicant in no way shall tamper with facts so as mislead the facts to court or police
- The applicants cannot leave the district without courts prior permission.
The next hearing date is on 7 July 2021
-Report by Saksham Srivastava