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Allahabad HC Stays Arrest Of Journalist Vineet Narain Accused Of Making Defamatory Posts Against Ram Temple Trust Secretary

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 July 2021 4:15 PM GMT
Allahabad High Court, Ram Temple Trust Secretary Champat Rai, Journalist Vineet Narain, Defamatory Post, Arrest Stayed, Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Piyush Agrawal

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday granted interim protection against arrest to Journalist Vineet Narain and his associate named Rajneesh Kapur, who have been booked for putting up allegations that Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Champat Rai and his brothers grabbed land from gaushala in Bijnor district.

A Division Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Piyush Agrawal observed that perusal of the FIR against the petitioners showed that even if the allegations made by them are taken in their entirety they do not constitute the offence alleged.

Further, opining that prima facie, it appeared that the FIR cannot be sustained in view of the law laid down by the Apex Court in State of Haryana and others vs. Bhajan Lal and others, 1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335, the Court said:

"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, as an interim measure it is provided that pursuant to the impugned first information report the petitioners in both the writ petitions shall not be arrested till the next date fixed, i.e. July 27, 2021."

It may be noted that a complaint had been lodged by Rai's brother, Sanjay Bansal against Senior journalist Vineet Narain, his associate Rajneesh and one Alka Lahoti.

It was stated in the complaint that allegations against Rai that he and his brother grabbed Lahoti's land were baseless and thus it was urged that an FIR be registered against Narain.

Pursuant to this, they were named in the FIR at the Nagina police station by Bijnor Police.

In several posts on social media, Narain had alleged that Rai through his brothers had grabbed the land of a gaushala worth ₹50 crores and illegally constructed a degree college on it.

Noting that in the FIR, several such sections were added which deal with an entirely different situation, the Court said:

"Section 153A provides for promoting enmity, Section 193 provides for punishment for false evidence, Section 295A provides for punishment for furnishing false evidence, Section 417 provides for punishment for cheating, Section 419 provides for punishment for cheating by personation, Section 448 provides for punishment for house-trespass, Section 465 Punishment for forgery, Section 467 provides for forgery of valuable security, will, etc., Section 469 provides for forgery for purpose of harming reputation, Section 470 provides for forged document, Section 471 provides for using as genuine a forged document or electronic record, Section 504 provides for intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, Section 505 (1) (o) is not mentioned in the IPC, Section 505 (2) provides for statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes and Section 507 provides for criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication. Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, 2000 provides for punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource, Section 71 provides for penalty for misrepresentation and Section 74 provides for publication for fraudulent purpose."

Thus, issuing notice to informant respondent no.4, the Court posted the matter for further hearing on July 27.

Case title - Vineet Narain v. State Of U.P. & Others and Rajneesh Kapur v. State Of U.P. & Others

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