A city court on Tuesday granted bail to freelance journalist Mandeep Punia on furnishing a bond to the tune of Rs 25,000 with a surety of the same amount. Since the complainant, victims and witnesses are police personnel only, there was no possibility that Punia would be able to influence them, the judge observed
"It is well settled legal principle of law that "bail is a rule and jail is an exception", the order delivered by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Satvir Singh Lamba read.
The Delhi Police arrested Punia on January 30 from Singhu border where he was covering the farmer's protests. He was remanded to 14 days judicial custody a day later. The police had charged him for allegedly assaulting a police officer and obstructing a public servant from carrying out his duties.
During his bail hearing at Rohini Court, Punia submitted that he was merely doing his job when the police apprehended him. The incident took place at 6 in the evening, whereas the FIR was filed seven hours later, advocate Sarim Naved had argued in court.
The plea said that while another journalist Dharmendra Singh, who was also apprehended, was let go when he showed his press card, Punia was arrested when he failed to do the same.
"Accused is a freelance journalist and not carrying press card can be no grounds for a case or arrest," Punia's bail plea filed by advocates Sarim Naved and Akram Khan said. Furthermore, there is evidence that contradicts the contentions made in the FIR, the bail plea further read.
Delhi Police had opposed bail saying Punia had assaulted police officials may "instigate the protestors and create a nuisance" at the Singhu Border.