The Delhi High Court has granted interim protection from arrest to activist-journalist Sushil Pandit, who has been booked for allegedly tweeting fake news related to the “death” of five CRPF personnel in a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pampore area in May last year.
The court noted that he has already approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for quashing of the FIR and for interim protection and said the relief was being granted to Pandit till his plea is taken up for consideration by the court there.
“It is clarified that protection to the petitioner shall continue till the time the application of the petitioner is taken up for consideration by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and would be subject to further orders passed by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,” Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said.
An FIR was filed against him in May last year at Pampore police station following his tweet, which was alleged to be in contravention of Section 505 (Statement conducting to public mischief) of the Ranbir Penal Code.
He had allegedly tweeted fake news related to the “death” of five CRPF men in a militant attack in Pampore.
Seeking relief from the Delhi High Court, Pandit relied on an earlier decision to submit that anticipatory bail can be granted by this court even though FIR has not been registered within the jurisdiction of this court as there is a threat of arrest of the petitioner who is a permanent resident of Delhi.
In July last year, he was granted interim protection from arrest subject to his joining the investigation in the case.
“In view of the fact that petitioner has already approached the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for quashing of the subject FIR and for interim protection pending the said petition, I am of the view that interest of justice would be served in case the interim protection granted to the petitioner by order dated July 20, 2018 is continued till the time the application of the petitioner for grant of interim protection is taken up for consideration by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir,” Justice Sachdeva said.
According to Pandit, when he came to know the news was a rumour, he deleted his tweet but police, presumably under some political pressure, filed the FIR against him.