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Calcutta High Court has granted bail to a press reporter from Birbhum District who was booked over three FIRs lodged against him for publishing an article on illegal mining amid lockdown.

The court stated that it is the fundamental right of a reporter to publish news of any illegal activity in an honest way and proper reporting is also helpful for administration and governance to act against the offenders.

While allowing the anticipatory bail prayer of the journalist from Birbhum district of West Bengal, Calcutta High Court bench comprising of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri and Justice Soumen Sen stated that there was “hardly any necessity for him to be taken into custody for investigation”.

The court observed that the news article published by the journalist highlights that amid lockdown, an illegal mining process had been taking place and is illegally transported by truck from the riverbed by Ajay river.

The court noted, “In fact, a proper press reporting of any such incidents would assist the administration in taking appropriate measures against the offender.” The bench also stated that if the complainant was liable to be prosecuted if the contents of the report were found to be true.

“It is a wake up call for all of us in the aftermath of Amphan and pandemic COVID-19 to respect the mother earth and preserve the ecology and environment lest we may face the rage of nature and soon be extinct,” observed the Calcutta High Court.

The prayer was contested by Pervez Alam Siddiqui who had filed a complaint against the press reporter in the Ilambazar police station in Birbhum accusing him of trespass, extortion, and criminal intimidation. Overall three FIRs had been registered against him in Illambazar, Bolpur, and Santiniketan.


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