Delhi Riots
Delhi Riots
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Delhi Court dismisses plea by Pinjra Tod activists for court-monitored investigation in a Delhi riots case

The Court observed that the apprehension of impartiality was based more on anxiety generated because of incarceration and less on any substantial basis or sound logic.

Aditi Singh

A Delhi Court recently dismissed an application by Pinjra Tod activists, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal seeking court monitored investigation in a Delhi riots case. (State vs Devangana Kalita & Natasha Narwal)

The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana in the application preferred under Section 156(3) CrPC.

Court-monitored probe was sought with respect to one of the main FIRs registered in connection with the Delhi riots. Both Narwal and Kalita are presently in judicial custody in connection with the Delhi riots.

Counsel for the Pinjra Tod Members (Applicants) argued that the investigation into the alleged conspiracy behind Delhi riots was not in accordance with any legally accepted tenets of a fair investigation.

It was apprehended that the perpetrators were hand-in-glove with the investigating agency as several videos representing the “true state of affairs” were being withheld from the court.

The counsel for the Applicants argued that there appeared to be a deliberate and willful failure to investigate the existence of pro-CAA rallies and hateful statements by pro-CAA persons and leaders.

Alleging that Delhi Police was not an impartial investigator in the present case, the Applicants stated that there was an “unholy nexus between the police and the real culprits”.

A prayer was thus made to the court to invoke its powers under Section 91 CrPC for obtaining the call records of local pro-CAA leaders, videos indicating movement of trucks, video footage shot by several journalists etc.

The Applicants also sought a direction in exercise of powers under Section 159 CrPC to record statements of those affected persons whose complaints were not acted upon by the police.

The Prosecution opposed the application and stated that during the bail hearing of one of the accused in FIR, Safoora Zargar, the Court had seen all the case diaries.

It was stated that if the Applicants believed that there were certain witnesses or evidence in their favour, the same could be produced later as defence evidence.

The Court was informed that the police was in the process of seizing all the CCTV footage of different places where riots took place.

It was also argued that the accused could not be permitted to guide, control and supervise the investigation.

After considering the submissions made by the parties, the Court said,

“..accused have an undeniable fundamental right of fair trial which is essentially founded upon the bedrock of fair investigation. However, the apprehension of the accused in the instant case seems to be based more on anxiety generated because of incarceration and less on any substantial basis or sound logic.”
Delhi Court

The Court stated that the Applicants failed to point out any material irregularity in the investigation carried out by the police to substantiate their doubt.

“.. the entire institution cannot be denigrated simply because some of its members went amiss.”, the Court remarked as it noted that it has already directed the DCP concerned to ensure fair investigation in the case.

Rejecting the prayer to call for a bi-weekly report into the investigation, the Court observed,

I find no valid grounds to saddle the already over-burdened investigating agency with any additional responsibility in the name of monitoring the investigation.

The prayer calling for data, video footage under Section 91 CrPC was also rejected on account of “vagueness and lack of specificity”.

“Investigation, in itself, is a very intricate and strenuous exercise, It is like taking a dip every time in a deep sea to dig out the oyster carrying the pearl. Considering the intricacies involved the Legislature in its wisdom has left the investigation within the exclusive domain of the Investigating agency. In my considered opinion, neither the court nor the accused can dictate the mode and manner in which the investigation is to be conducted by the Investigating Officer.”

The prayer for invocation of powers under Section 159 CrPC was also rejected for being based on “mere surmises and conjectures”.

The application was accordingly dismissed.

Advocate Adit Pujari and Tusharika Mattoo appeared for the Applicants.

APP Irfan Ahmed appeared for Delhi Police.

Read the order:

Devangana & Natasha 156(3) Order - TC (1).pdf
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