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Press Reporter is Expected to Make Public Aware of Illegal Activities in an Honest Way: Calcutta HC

File Photo of Calcutta High Court.

File Photo of Calcutta High Court.

Allowing an anticipatory bail prayer by a reporter who had published a news article on an online portal on illegal sand mining, the court said there was hardly any necessity for him to be taken into custody.

Observing that a press reporter is expected to make the public aware of any illegal activities in an honest way, the Calcutta High Court has said that a proper reporting of any such incidents would assist the administration in taking appropriate measures against the offenders.

Allowing an anticipatory bail prayer by a reporter in Birbhum district of West Bengal, who had published a news article on an online portal on alleged illegal sand mining, the court said that there was hardly any necessity for him to be taken into custody for interrogation.

The division bench comprising justices Soumen Sen and Bibek Chaudhuri noted that the news article stated that amidstlockdown, some illegal mining of sand had taken place and that few persons of Birbhum district were transporting such sandillegally by truck from the riverbed of Ajay river.

This report was contested by one Pervez Alam Siddiqui,the complainant in the case filed before the Ilambazar police station in Birbhum accusing the reporter of trespass,extortion and criminal intimidation.

Granting the anticipatory bail prayer of Avishek DuttaRoy, the division bench last week said that a press reporter is expected to make the public aware of any illegal activitiesin an honest way.

"In fact, a proper press reporting of any suchincidents would assist the administration in taking appropriate measures against the offenders," the court observed.

The division bench said that it is equally expectedthat if the news report is found to be correct, "then the complainant is liable to be prosecuted." "It is a wake up call for all of us in the aftermath of Amphan and pandemic Covid-19 to respect the mother earthand preserve the ecology and environment lest we may face the rage of nature and soon be extinct," the court observed. Noting that cases of illegal mining are frequently noticed, the court said that it must be prevented.

first published:August 05, 2020, 11:19 IST