Police contest court order to supply hard copy of Delhi riots chargesheet
The Delhi police have challenged two orders of the trial court, where the judge had directed them to supply physical copies of the charge sheet filed in the conspiracy case related to the north east Delhi riots to 15 accused in the case.The police have contended that the document runs over 17,500 pages and the direction was passed in a “mechanical manner”.
In its plea, filed through Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad, the special cell of Delhi police challenged the legality and validity of orders dated September 21 and October 21 passed by additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat, directing the supply of physical copy of charge sheet.
The court had on October 9 directed the police to file fresh copies of the charge sheet, running over 17,500 pages, after it was informed that they “have inadvertently” put a document in it which contained the details of some of the protected witnesses and its copies were supplied to the accused booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
It had directed the police to file fresh copies of the charge sheet redacting the details of the protected witnesses and supply it to the 15 persons chargesheeted in the case and their counsel.
On October 21, the court was informed by the investigating officer (IO) that he has submitted 16 new pen drives containing the redacted version of the charge sheet and accompanying documents in terms of the earlier order. However, the court directed the accused and their counsel \be provided with both the hard and soft copies of the fresh chargesheet.
The judge had also said that it was not impressed with the submission of the Investigating officer who had sought 15 days time for the sanction for funds from the Delhi government for taking out the hard copies for every accused. The judge had directed the police to supply the documents at the earliest.
Challenging these orders, the city police have contended that the mandate of law under section 207 of CrPC is to provide “COPY” of each of the report/ statements/ document subject to reasonable exception. It said that law does not specify supply of “hard copy” or “soft copy” nor does it draw any distinction between “hard copy” or “soft copy”.
The plea, which is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday, said that Section 207 CrPC does not cast any duty upon the investigating officer/ agency to bear the cost of supply of copy to the accused but casts the duty to supply copy upon the magistrate or court.
It also added that the direction of supply of physical copies is also a violation of the Information Technology Act.
The city police had earlier filed a charge sheet on Sep 16 against 15 accused namely-- Pinjra Tod members and JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, Gulfisha Khatoon, former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, Jamia Coordination Committee members Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider, Shafa-Ur-Rehman, suspended AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain, activist Khalid Saifi, Shadab Ahmed, Tasleem Ahmed, Salim Malik, Mohd Salim Khan and Athar Khan.-- for allegedly being part of a larger conspiracy in the riots.
JNU student Sharjeel Imam and former JNU student leader Umar Khalid have also been arrested under the anti-terror law in the case but not charge-sheeted yet.
The court had taken cognisance of the charge sheet on Sep 21 and directed the supply of physical copies to the accused.
Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters snowballedl leaving at least 53 people dead and 607 injured.