HC raps Delhi Police for affidavit on plea by Devangana Kalitha

New Delhi: After the Delhi Police accused Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalitha of "herself starting a media trial in her favour to gain sympathy" while replying to apetition alleging it was selectively leaking information about Kalitha, Justice Vibhu Bakhru called the police's allegations "unwarranted".

Kalitha was arrested in in one of the north-east Delhi related riots cases earlier this year.

"The allegations in the affidavit were unwarranted in view of the limited scope of the petition," Justice Vibhu Bakhru said. The court said the police cannot say that since the petitioner wanted a media trial therefore it was putting out information in the media. "You cannot support a media trial. That cannot be the approach of the police. There has to be some restraint that they (police) have to follow. Your affidavit goes way beyond..," the judge said.

The court said that multiple allegations have been made in the affidavit which go beyond the scope of the petition and suggested that it be withdrawn. It said that in the instant matter it was only going to examine under what circumstances the police can issue official communiques or press notes about a case and in what manner. The court said it was not going to prohibit police from issuing any official communiques in any case.

However, if the affidavit remains on record, without any officer taking responsibility for the allegations made therein, it will comment upon its contents, the court said. "We are not sure the facts (in the affidavit) have any basis. Some of the allegations have been made irresponsibly," the court said.

The court said every accused disputes the case against him/her and makes allegations that the investigation and prosecution was biased. "However, this is not the kind of affidavit expected from the police," the court said.

Subsequently, Additional Solicitor-General Aman Lekhi, appearing for Delhi Police, said he will not rely upon the affidavit and will confine his arguments to the point of law. The court, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing on July 15.

In the affidavit, Delhi Police accused Kalitha of started a media trial in her favour to gain sympathy while responding to allegations that they were selectively leaking information about her. On Thursday, the court said the interim order restricting information will continue to operate.

Responding to the notice, Delhi Police said: The petitioner (Kalitha) herself is guilty of peddling a false social media narrative of state sponsored oppression and subjugation against a particular community which incited the Delhi riots, and after the riots, she is guilty of peddling of a false narrative of a political vendetta, state sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution against the

said community.

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