Delhi High Court on Tuesday granted bail to the freelance journalist Mandeep Punia who was arrested from the farmers’ protesting site, Singhu border for misbehaving with the police officials and obstructing public servants from discharging their duties.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Satvir Singh Lamba has granted him bail and also subjected him to furnish bail bond in a sum of Rs.25,000/- along with one sound surety in the like amount, among other bail conditions.
The court opined that it is unlikely that Punia would influence the course of the investigation and given the well-settled legal principle that bail is the rule and jail is an exception. The court asked him not to indulge in such offences again and join the investigation whenever required.
“There is no possibility that accused/ applicant can able to influence any of the police officials. Admittedly, the accused is a freelancer journalist. Moreso, no recovery is to be effected from the accused person and keeping the accused further in Judicial Custody would not serve any cogent purpose. It is well settled legal principle of law that ‘bail is a rule and jail is an exception’. Hence, considering the totality of facts and circumstances of the present case, submissions on behalf of both the parties as well as keeping in view the period of detention of the accused in judicial custody, he is admitted to bail,” observed Justice Lamba.
However, the High Court observed that the scuffle reportedly happened at around 6.30 pm and the present FIR was registered at around 1.21 am. “Moreover, the complainant, victims and witnesses are police personnel only. Hence, there is no possibility that accused/applicant [Mr. Punia] can able to influence any of the police officials,” stated the bench.
Mandeep Punia was arrested on January 30 from the Singhu border. He was booked under Section 186 (obstructing any public servant while discharging public functions), Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and Section 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR against Punia was registered on January 31.
Punia was sent to judicial custody in the previous hearing on Sunday by Metropolitan Magistrate Akhil Malik as the investigation officer was not present there in the court.