Pinjra Tod: Don’t share case info, high court to Delhi Police
Delhi riots: Counsel for a student activist told the court that the Delhi Police, through a media note, and selective leaks to the media on contents of charge-sheets, has caused immense damage to her reputation and fundamental right to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence.Updated: Jun 12, 2020 04:24 IST
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained the city police from issuing any statements or circulating information to any person, including to the media or on social media platforms, regarding allegations and evidence allegedly collected against Devangana Kalita, student activist and member of women’s activisit group Pinjra Tod, who is currently lodged in jail in connection to her alleged involvement in the north-east Delhi riots.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued notice to the Delhi police on the plea by Kalita, through her counsels Adit S Pujari and Kirti Awasthi, while directing the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Crime Branch to file a personal affidavit within two weeks detailing “affirming” the allegations made in the plea.
Counsel for Kalita told the court that the Delhi Police, through a media note, and selective leaks to the media on contents of charge-sheets, has caused immense damage to her reputation and fundamental right to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence.
The plea also said that such coverage, which is directly attributable to leaks of the Delhi Police, has caused Kalita to fear for her own safety, as also the safety of her relatives in Assam and her husband in Delhi.
Advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for the Delhi police, accepted the notice and said that he would file a reply on the petition. The matter would be now heard on July 9.
Kalita was arrested by the Special Cell and charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for her alleged role in the conspiracy to the north-east Delhi riots which left more than 50 dead and several others injured. Kalita has been named in four separate FIRs by the city police, its Special Cell and its Crime Branch who are probing the riots.
On June 3, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the crime branch members filed a charge sheet in a city court charging Pinjra Tod members—Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita—for “actively being involved in hatching the conspiracy to cause riots near Jaffarabad metro station on February 25. The police said that they were also part of a larger conspiracy and were found to be connected to the “India against Hate” group and its member Umar Khalid, a former union leader from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.