JNU row: Court seeks status report from police

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New Delhi | Published: May 26, 2016 8:00:32 PM

A Delhi court today sought status report from police on the probe in a sedition case against JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others for...

A Delhi court today sought status report from police on the probe in a sedition case against JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and others for deciding the maintainability of AAP government’s separate plea seeking action against some media houses.

The court’s direction came while hearing a complaint filed by Delhi government seeking prosecution of three news channels for allegedly showing “doctored” videos related to a controversial event held inside JNU campus on February 9 where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised.

The court also refused stay the proceedings in the matter on an application filed by the editor-in-chief of a news channel.

It had sought the stay on proceedings of Delhi government’s present complaint, claiming that the same video is the “subject matter” in the main FIR lodged on February 11 in the JNU protest at Vasant Kunj North police station as well.

It claimed that the Delhi police is already probing the matter and it will decide whether the video was doctored and, therefore, the current complaint filed by the Delhi government should be stayed.

However, senior advocate Hariharan, appearing for Delhi government, told the court that the subject matter in this matter is entirely different from the one in the main FIR registered in the sedition case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sumit Dass refused to stay the proceedings in the present complaint and fixed the matter for further hearing on July 12.

“I am not staying the proceedings as much as I am calling a status report from Delhi Police Special Cell,” the CMM said.

The court had earlier fixed the matter for today for consideration of Delhi government’s complaint in which it was said the channels reported about clash between students groups at JNU and showed footage of the incident which happened at the university campus on February 9. The court is yet to pass any order on the government’s complaint.

The government’s counsel had said the video was inaudible so the channels had showed a bubble on the screen with an alleged text “Pakistan Zindabad” and the the anchor/reporter suggested that such anti-national slogans were being shouted by the JNU students which would not be tolerated by the country.

During the day’s hearing, advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who appeared for the editor, said that the present complaint was in the name of Government of NCT of Delhi and it was yet to be decided whether the Chief Minister or the Lieutenant Governor represents it.

He claimed that the complaint was filed for political purpose.

“The same matter is being investigated by Delhi Police in the main FIR in the sedition case. Therefore, the proceeding in the present complaint should be stayed,” the counsel said adding that a police report should be called in this matter.

He also claimed that this complaint was filed by the Delhi government to benefit Kanhaiya Kumar, an accused in the JNU sedition case.

However, senior advocate Hariharan submitted that the subject matter in this case is entirely different from the one in the first FIR filed in JNU sedition case.

“On February 9, there was a live telecast from the JNU campus. This case is not whether that video was doctored. Subsequently, something was uploaded on news channel’s website which was edited and showed that a student shouting slogans like ‘Pakistan zindabad’ and angered the people across the country. The present complaint is based on the basis of that video which was edited,” he said.

He further claimed that the editor has no locus as he has not yet been summoned in case by the court.

The government’s complaint has said these programmes were also uploaded on the websites of these channels on ‘YouTube’.

It said that a CD of the footage was send to forensic science laboratory and the experts have opined that all these bubbles were insertions and tapes were tampered with.

The plea has sought prosecution of the three channels, their editors and anchors for the alleged offences under various sections including 415 (cheating), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of IPC and provisions of the Information and Technology Act.

The Delhi government sought examination of its complaint under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It has made 12 respondents as parties in the matter, including three news channels, their editors-in-chief, directors and anchors.

The plea, which was filed through SDM of Vasant Vihar Sunil Dutt Sharma, also annexed list of witnesses which they sought to examine in support of the complaint.

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