On 28th January, the Gujarat High Court has suspended the non-bailable warrant of arrest issued by a Magistrate in Kutch, against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, in connection to a 2017 defamation suit filed by the Adani Group against him.
The single-judge bench of Justice B N Karia heard the application filed by Guha who sought to quash and set aside the impugned order dated 18th January 2021 passed by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mundra, Kutch.
Guha’s lawyer Anand Yagnik submitted before the HC that without issuing summons or bailable warrant, the Trial Court had straightway issued a non-bailable warrant against the Guha to secure the presence of the applicant, which is not permissible in the eyes of law.
The counsel further submitted that he will file an undertaking that Thakurta will remain present before the Trial Court for further proceedings without fail.
Therefore, while noting that the issue requires consideration, the Court issued a notice (returnable on 20th February 2021) to the respondent the State. Lastly, the Court said, “Order passed below by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mundra, Kutch shall be suspended till the next date of hearing.”
Earlier on January 18, a Judicial Magistrate court of First Class (JMFC), Mundra in Kutch had issued an arrest warrant against Thakurta. He then challenged the order in the high court arguing that without issuing summons and then bailable warrant, the lower court couldn’t have directly issued a non-bailable warrant to ensure his presence in the court. The petition also stated that the order was issued at a time when the JMFC court was ‘closed’.
Thakurta is facing a criminal defamation case filed by Adani Power Ltd under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 500 (defamation), 109 (abetment), 120 -B (conspiracy) among others. The petition states that on January 4, Adani had moved an application for issuance of a non-bailable warrant against Thakurta and on January 18, the arrest order was passed.