In a trenchant order, Justices Ranjit V. More and Bharati H. Dangre, quashed the charges against Quint journalist Poonam Agarwal of abetment to suicide and of violating provisions of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The case followed the sting operation the journalist had conducted to exposed the pernicious ‘sahayak’ system in which she interview five persons in Deolali, Nasik. One of them, Lance Naik Roy Mathew, allegedly committed suicide as his body was found in the Deolali barracks. In the order, the judges said:

“We fail to understand how the video clippings. which contains a conversation about the Sahayak system, or the ‘buddy system’, affects the security of the nation. At the most, it can be said to be a footage exposing the manner of working of the Army, which is in contrary to the suggestions of the report of the Parliamentary Committee, which had suggested to prohibit the use of Army jawans in the capacity of Sahayak and being entrusted with duties which would act as an insult to the jawans. On viewing the clippings recorded by applicant Poonam and its uploading on social media, we do not find that the clippings contain any information affecting the security of the State or the sovereignty and integrity of the country. “

Read the full judgement here :

poonam agarwal order bombay high court


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