Explain how Hindustan Times accessed FIR: Delhi court to Malviya Nagar Police Station SHO

Metropolitan Magistrate Shilpi Singh noted that the complaint contained sensitive information against the complainant, a doctor.
Hindustan Times
Hindustan Times

A Delhi court last Wednesday sought a reply from the Station House Officer (SHO) at Malviya Nagar Police Station in Delhi regarding the leak of sensitive contents from a First Information Report (FIR) [Ashok Kumar Chaudhary v Jeena Joseph].

Metropolitan Magistrate Shilpi Singh while noting that the complaint contained sensitive information against the complainant, posted the matter for further hearing on August 30, 2022.

"Considering the facts of the case and the allegations, let notice be issued to concerned SHO with direction to explain how Hindustan Times came in the knowledge of the present FIR, the kinds of complaint in which the complaint is treated as sensitive information and discretion is exercised by the SHO to not share the same" judge Singh of Saket District Court stated.

Apart from seeking a response from the SHO, the judge also directed the complainant to furnish guidelines that would demonstrate that such a case fell within the sensitive information category.

The complainant's counsel submitted that a Sessions Court had directed that the FIR in the case be registered on April 19, 2022.

While there has been no update on registration of the complaint since, on July 29, an article was published in the Hindustan Times' first-page Hindi editorial detailing the allegations, the counsel added.

The complainant argued that only someone knowing the name of the complainant or accused, FIR number and the date of registration would have been able to access the FIR from the centralised system where it is uploaded.

It was alleged that that the FIR was deliberately leaked to the media to tarnish the image of the complainant, a high-profile person.

The complainant is a doctor presently working at the Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi. He met the first respondent, a nurse at the hospital, in 2011. She allegedly lured him to become friends through stories of her husband's torture and their poor financial situation.

The respondent was sacked in September 2017 because of alleged malafide and illegal conduct at the hospital, which she protested against. Around that time, the complainant began to distance himself from the respondent even as she claimed that he was the father of a girl child she conceived earlier that year.

Using this, money was allegedly extorted from the doctor with the respondent threatening that she would end her life and that of the baby, reveal their relationship to his parents, and also needed funds to immigrate to Canada. Messages in this regard were sent till 2019.

The doctor relented, and allegedly paid upwards of ₹47 lakhs to the nurse and her husband.

During the enquiry process, a magistrate-ordered action-taken report and earlier hearings before a different court, were considered to hold that the two were in a relationship with mutual consent and the nurse had admitted to the money paid. However, she said that the same was towards financial assistance, and would be refunded in five years.

The sessions court had earlier dismissed the application seeking lodging of an FIR after noting that two seemed to be heading towards an amicable settlement, and the nurse had messaged the doctor to not proceed with the case.

This was set aside in April this year by an Additional Sessions Judge after noting that a prima facie case of extortion was made out and required deeper investigation.

The application had contended that the conduct of the SHO in not registering the FIR or establishing anything after probing further till date, since the order passed in April was prejudicial and was causing great distress to the doctor.

Advocates Sanjay Vashishtha and Rahul Kumar of Vashishtha Law Offices represented the complainant.

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