A Delhi court has acquitted a 2015 DUSU election candidate of the charge of defacing public property by pasting his campaign posters on the wall of a government building on the ground that the complainant himself was investigating the case. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Khurana absolved the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) candidate, who contested for the post of Secretary in 2015 Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU rpt DUSU) elections of the offence under Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.
The court also noted that their were no independent witnesses to prove the allegations. “It is well settled law that complainant should not be the investigating officer in the case so as to rule out any illwill or bias against the accused. “Therefore, in order to allay any fear of bias or ill will, it is in the fitness of things that the complainant and the IO should not be the same person which is not the case before the court,” the court said. While deciding the matter in favour of the accused who had lost the election to an ABVP candidate, it also said that the photographs on the spot of the posters on the wall remain unproved.
“Considering the fact that photographs of the poster remained unproved, non-examination of independent witness, non -filing of certificate under Evidence Act regarding taking of photograph from his mobile phone and the complainant himself being the IO and considering totality of facts, in my opinion, prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubts,” the magistrate said.
According to the prosecution, on September 10, 2015 a police official saw posters on a government boundary wall near Devika Tower at Nehru Place as part of the campaign for the CYSS candidate Rahul Raj Aryan. An FIR was lodged which was followed by a charge sheet against him for the offence of defacing public property under the DPDP Act. However, during the trial, the accused denied prosecution case in its entirety and claimed innocence. He also claimed that he was falsely implicated by someone and the wall in question was also not a public property.