Calcutta High Court Orders Immediate Release of Man Arrested Over Social Media Post

In a significant ruling on Wednesday, the Calcutta High Court directed the immediate release of a Howrah resident who was arrested after expressing his concerns over the illegal filling of ponds in the area on social media. The court criticized the police’s actions, calling them an overreach of their authority.

Justice Amrita Sinha presided over the case and labeled the arrest as an “act of highhandedness” by the police. The controversy began when Sultan, whose full name has been withheld, was taken into custody by the Shibpur Police following a complaint that accused him of disrupting public tranquility with his posts.

The legal proceedings unfolded rapidly after Sultan’s wife petitioned the high court, arguing that the police had acted excessively. According to the petition, Sultan was supposed to appear before the investigating officer on July 1, pursuant to a notice issued on June 30. However, he was arrested on the very day the notice was issued—a move that the court found questionable.

The FIR against Sultan, filed on June 28, suggested he intended to commit offences threatening public peace. However, his legal team contested the circumstances of his arrest, claiming he was detained at the police station despite going there voluntarily to respond to the notice.

During the hearing, the state’s representation, Advocate General Kishore Dutta, maintained that the arrest was made at Sultan’s residence due to his failure to formally accept the notice. The discrepancy over the location of the arrest prompted Justice Sinha to order the preservation and review of CCTV footage from the Shibpur police station on the day of the incident.

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Justice Sinha pointed out the police’s premature action in arresting Sultan before the stipulated appearance date, highlighting it as an example of police overzealousness. The court’s directive to release Sultan was framed within a broader critique of police behavior, emphasizing the need for restraint and adherence to legal norms when dealing with citizens’ freedoms.

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