The Supreme Court has ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to immediately release journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was jailed for allegedly ‘defaming’ Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The top court said that Kanojia is ‘not a murderer’ and the ‘journalist should be released immediately’. The apex court slammed the Yogi government and said that, “The opinions may vary, he (Prashant) probably should not have published or written that tweet, but on what basis was he arrested." The Supreme Court order allows UP govt to proceed against him under the FIR but makes it clear he can't be put behind bars for an allegedly objectionable tweet against Chief Minister.
“Liberty of citizen is sacrosanct and non-negotiable. It is guaranteed by the Constitution and it cannot be infringed,” Justice Indira Banerjee said while slamming UP police for arresting journalist Kanojia for allegedly inflammatory and defamatory tweet by him. The top court also questioned the UP police over necessity of arrest for alleged defamatory tweets. The apex court also slammed the Magistrate, who had sent Kanojia for 11 days judicial remand. During hearing, Justice Banerjee said that, “Even we take in a lot from social media, but does that mean incarceration? Show your magnanimity.” In the reply, the Additional Solicitor General said that, “Then let it be not seen as an endorsement of his tweets.” To this, Justice Banerjee said, “Very wrong to think whatever uploaded will be swallowed by the public. People are educated.”
Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the CM office claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to the CM. The Editors Guild had condemned the arrest of a journalist, and the editor and head of a television channel over alleged objectionable content related to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, describing the police action as an "authoritarian misuse of laws" and an effort to intimidate the press.