Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: While addressing the issue that whether the Delhi Police can be faulted for disclosing the certain information and allegations pertaining to the petitioner regarding her alleged involvement in hatching a conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station, in their press release; the Bench of Vibhu Bakhru, J., directed the Delhi Police to refrain from issuing any further communication naming any accused or any witness till the charges are framed and the trial is commenced.

The petitioner is currently enrolled as a student in M. Phil-Ph.D Program with the Department of Women’s Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. As per the petitioner, she has been a strong critic of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and has participated in peaceful protests for seeking repeal of the CAA and a stop to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process. The petitioner via her counsel Adit S. Pujari, contends that the Delhi Police circulated a “Brief Note” dated 02-06-2020 to various media agencies which disclosed names of two girls including the petitioner and alleged that they belong to ‘Pinjra Tod’ Group and were actively involved in hatching a conspiracy to cause riots near Jafrabad Metro Station. The petitioner submitted that the impugned Note was an attempt to prejudice her Right to Free and Fair Trial and also to weaken the presumption of her innocence. Per contra, Additional Solicitor General, Aman Lekhi contended that the Delhi Police had not issued the impugned Note with the intention of causing any prejudice to the petitioner or with a view to attack her reputation but for the sole purpose to accurately portray the case, which was necessary in view of the media campaign carried out by members of the ‘Pinjra Tod’ Group to sway the public opinion against the actions of the Delhi Police.

Perusing the rival contentions, the Court observed that the respondent’s contention that the circulation of the impugned Note was a necessity in the light of the negative campaigning conducted against the Delhi Police, is not a persuasive argument. However, the Court also observed that the impugned Note does not violate the petitioner’s Fundamental Rights under Art. 21 of the Constitution. The Court further noted that the reasons prompting the respondent to issue the impugned note are not subject to judicial review provided they are bonafide and do not violate the petitioner’s right. However considering that communal riots are sensitive cases, where even the FIRs are also not publicly disclosed, therefore the Court restrained the Delhi Police to release any further communication in this matter.[Devangana Kalita v. Delhi Police, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 867 , decided on 27-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bhakru, J., restrains the Delhi Police officials to issue any such statement or circulating information regarding allegations and evidence collected against the petitioner.

Petitioner alleged that Delhi Police has been selectively leaking certain information regarding the allegations made against the petitioner and the evidence allegedly collected against her.

It has been added by the petitioner that the said information being leaked is selective and misleading.

Petitioners Advocate contended that the Crime Branch has been leaking out selective information and evidence to persons from the media. 

Misleading information about the petitioner could likely to place the petitioner and her family members at risk.

Bench directed the DCP of the Crime Branch to file a personal affidavit affirming whether any such information as is mentioned above has been circulated by the officials to third persons, journalists or on social media.

Thus, in the meantime respondent is restrained from issuing any such statement or circulating information regarding allegations and evidence allegedly collected against the petitioner or other accused to any person including to the media or on social media.

Matter to be listed on 09-07-2020.[Devangana Kalita v. Delhi Police, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 639 , decided on 10-06-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

The Delhi Commission for Women has taken suo moto cognizance of reports regarding a group called ‘Bois Locker Room’ operational on social media platform ‘Instagram’ which comprises of several hundred members.

The group is used for sharing objectionable pictures of minor girls and young women many a times with their personal information.

Members of the group have been reported to have discussed techniques of raping women and gang-raping minors.

Several other illegal acts and comments have been made on thr group. Commission is in receipt of several screenshots of the group wherein the handle names and the usernames are clearly visible.

In view of the same, DCW has instituted inquiry into the matter.

DCW issues notice to Delhi Police & Instagram.

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Section 66-E of Information & Technology Act, 2000:  Punishment for violation of privacy

Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both.

Section 354 C of Penal code, 1860: Voyeurism

Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Delhi Commission for Women

[Notice dt. 04-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Delhi Police imposes Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and orders the following prohibitory orders to maintain public health, public safety and public order in Delhi:

  • Assembly of any kind for demonstrations, processions, protests etc is prohibited.
  • Any gathering social/cultural/political/religious/academic/sports/seminar/conferences prohibited.
  • Organisation of weekly markets (except for vegetables, fruits and essential commodities), concerts, exhibitions etc., is prohibited.
  • Guided group tours conducted by various private tour operators are prohibited.
  • Any individual suspected/confirmed with COVID-19 shall take measures for prevention/treatment i.e. home quarantine/ institution quarantine/isolation or any such person shall cooperate to render assistance or comply with the directions of the surveillance personnel.
  • Any person contravening this order shall be punishable under Section 188 of Penal Code, 1860.

The above order will be effective from 22-03-2020: 9 PM till midnight of 31-03-2020.

Hot Off The PressNews

Expressing grief over loss of life and property in Delhi violence, in Rajya Sabha today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reassured the Nation that Modi Government is committed to bring the perpetrators to justice regardless of their religion, caste, creed or political affiliation.

He emphasized that the due procedure of law would be followed and justice would be delivered to the victims. The Home Minister said that no culprit would be pardoned and the punishment would instill fear of law in the hearts of perpetrators of violence in the future. He said that the government’s priority is to prevent any kind of violence and ensure relief to the victims. All the loss of property during the riots would be recovered from those responsible for it, he added.

Talking about the progress of investigation, Shri Shah informed the House that 1922 perpetrators have been identified from video footage received from the public, on the basis of facial recognition. Commenting on the alleged violation of right to privacy, he said that Delhi Police has not used Aadhar data for facial recognition of perpetrators, and while the Government respects the right to privacy, it cannot supersede the quest for bringing perpetrators of riots to justice. He further added that Delhi Police has abided by the Supreme Court’s guidelines on right to privacy during the course of the investigation. He informed that 3 SITs have been formed under the supervision of DIG and IG rank officers to handle 50 serious cases of violence.

Shri Shah said that while the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border had been sealed on the night of 24th February, completely shutting down borders was not possible. He further informed the House that most arms used in the riots were non-licensed and country made, and 49 cases of illegal arms have been registered for the same. He noted that 52 people have been arrested and the arms used in riots recovered on the basis of investigations. He added that more than 1100 people have been identified, and 40 teams have been formed to arrest those rioters who have been identified. He also informed that 5 people have been arrested for engaging in hawala transactions to finance the riots, which points towards the planned nature of the conspiracy.

Shri Shah emphasized the role played by certain social media accounts on fomenting hate and said that the Special Cell was investigating the issue. He informed the House that many social media accounts were created a day before the beginning of the riots and were shut down once the riots ended. He resolved to bring all those who instigated riots on social media to justice. The Home Minister further noted that the two people who had been receiving propaganda material from ISIS to incite riots have now been arrested. He also informed the House that the killers of both security officials – Head Constable Ratan Lal and Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma – have also been arrested.

Commenting on setting up of an impartial Claims Commission, Shri Shah said that Delhi Police has written to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to appoint an impartial judge and the Government has no role in the appointment. He added that the Modi Government is taking the investigation very seriously and wants to ensure the logical conclusion of the investigation based on scientific analysis. Shri Shah urged all political parties to refrain from making baseless accusations. He said that while the lives lost and property damaged in the riots is a serious issue, the work done by Delhi Police to contain the riots to a small area (4% of Delhi’s geographical area) is commendable, and to acknowledge this is important for the morale of the force.

Shri Shah said that vested interests are misguiding and instilling a fear in Indian Muslims that CAA would take away their citizenship. The hate speeches delivered in the last two months were the main reason behind anti-CAA protests culminating into Delhi riots. Talking about the transfer of the High Court Judge hearing the Delhi riots case, Shri Shah said that the due procedure was followed based on the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium and the Judge was transferred after obtaining his consent for the same.

The Home Minister also reassured the people that no document will be demanded during NPR exercise and that nobody will be classified as doubtful on citizenship grounds, on the basis of NPR. He urged the opposition to stop misleading people on the issues of CAA and NPR and appealed to assist the police and administration in ensuring justice for the perpetrators and relief and rehabilitation for the victims. The Home Minister requested all political parties to rise above politics and allay all fears from the minds of common people in this regard.

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 12-03-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by ANI, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has appointed SG Tushar Mehta, Addl. solicitor General  MK Acharya and two other Advocates to represent Delhi Police in regard to the recent violence and riots that occurred in North-East Delhi.

Delhi Police has registered 18 FIRs and 106 people have been arrested for creating violence.

Also read:

[Delhi Violence] | Del HC | “We cannot let another 1984 happen in this country; Not under the watch of this Court”; Ensure safe passage for bodies of victims who died in riots

Del HC | [Delhi Riots] [Midnight Hearing] Delhi Police directed to ensure safe passage for injured victims & immediate emergency treatment at govt. hospitals

[Source: ANI]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ., while addressing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the father of a girl child aged 15 years missing since 14-10-2019, held that,

On various occasions involving missing children, the local police / AHTUs functioning at district level typically seem unable to trace missing children, whereas when the investigation is transferred under orders of this Court to AHTU (Crime), typically the missing children are traced.

Court found it appropriate, additionally, to consider issues as to the working of the Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in the NCT of Delhi, and had also sought suggestions from the Delhi Police.

Court found it appropriate to issue the following directions with a view to streamlining the functioning of Delhi Police /AHTUs in matters pertaining to tracing missing children:

  • It is directed that the District AHTUs shall function as a nodal agency for all cases of missing children in the district concerned and work in close coordination with the local police, as well as other agencies, providing expert assistance to Investigating Officers, including in respect of collection and analysis of technical evidence.
  • In every district, an officer not below the rank of a DCP shall, on a fortnightly basis, review the progress of investigation in every case registered in respect of missing children in the respective districts. Every Investigating Officer shall be responsible for drawing up and maintaining a Guard File for each case being investigated by them. The ACPs of the District AHTU shall be responsible for submission of such a file to the superior officer.
  • Within a period of 48 hours, an officer not below the rank of an ACP should be nominated at every District AHTU, who shall thereafter, on a regular basis, i.e., at least twice a month, analyse the pending as well as closed cases of missing children to identify patterns or other circumstances indicating the likelihood of links to trafficking or organised crime. In cases where there are indications of links to trafficking or organised crime, appropriate steps ought to be taken, including gathering such additional intelligence as may be necessary, and launching operations no later than within 24 hours to apprehend persons involved, and to rescue the missing children.
  • Within a period of 48 hours, an officer not below the rank of an Addl. DCP shall be nominated in each district, who shall thereafter hold at least one meeting each month with ACP (AHTU) and the SHOs concerned, to identify sections/pockets of their respective districts that are worst affected in terms of missing children.
  • Children rescued under Operation Milap are placed in Children Homes pending their restoration. Within a period of 48 hours, a team shall be formed at each district under an officer not below the rank of an Inspector (AHTU), to streamline and expedite the process of restoring such children.
  • It has been suggested that the Delhi Police ought to enter into an appropriate arrangement with radio-taxi / cab service provider to provide transport services on pre-approved rates, payments wherefor may be made by the Delhi Police through a centralised billing service. The Delhi Police is directed to examine and implement within a period of four weeks the entering into an arrangement with a radio-taxi / cab service provider after due consultation with the Finance and other departments concerned.
  • It has further been submitted that though the Commissioner had approved the suggestion that the Indian Railways be requested that an emergency quota be made for reservation of tickets for Investigating Officers required to travel outside the NCT of Delhi, orders of this Court may be required in this regard. Ministry of Railways is directed to initiate appropriate steps in this regard within a period of one week.

Hence, the High Court held that an action taken report shall be filed by the Delhi Police as well as the Ministry of Railways by the next date of hearing in respect of the above directions. [Surender Sah v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 466, decided on 19-02-2020]