The Calcutta High Court recently while granting anticipatory bail to an ABP Ananda Journalist has observed that freedom of press indispensable to democracy, and thus the freedom to execute journalistic endeavours needs to be protected.

Pertinently, the petitioner was working as a Journalist with the TV Channel where he claimed that he recorded illegal sand mining activities in pursuit of his journalist endeavours.

However, there was an issue of false implication arising out of his journalistic work, where it was alleged that he was guilty of extortion of money from different persons in the locality.

Consequentially, a bench of Justice Debangsu Basak and Justice Md. Shabbar Rashidi observed, “Freedom of press is indespensible to democracy. Freedom of press can be maintained by ringfencing the press from intimidation. A journalist is part of the press. His freedom to execute his journalistic endeavours needs to be protected. In such circumstances, we grant anticipatory bail to the petitioner”.

Advocate Niladri Sekhar Ghosh appeared for the petitioner and APP Sanjoy Bardhan appeared for the State.

It was the case of the petitioner that he was a Journalist, working with ABP Ananda for which he relied upon the identity card issued by the network. It was further submitted that he took videography of illegal sand mining.

Thereafter, one after the other police complaints were being filed as against him falsely implicating him. Pursuant to which, the State sought to draw the attention of the Court to the materials in the Case Diary to establish

However, after perusing the Case Diary, the bench granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner.

The bench directed that in the event of arrest, the petitioner shall be released on bail upon furnishing a bond of Rs.10,000/- with two sureties of like amount each, to the satisfaction of the arresting officer and also be subject to the conditions as laid down under Section 438(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and on further condition that the petitioner will report before the Investigating Officer once in a month till the conclusion of investigation.

Cause Title: Ranjit Das @ Mohan Das v. State of West Bengal

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