Litigation News

Not the kind of affidavit that is expected: Delhi HC tells Police on its affidavit accusing Devangana Kalita of peddling false narrative

In the affidavit, Delhi Police had asserted that Kalita was "guilty of peddling of a false narrative of a political vendetta, state-sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution."

Aditi Singh

"This is not the kind of affidavit that is expected", the Delhi High Court told the Delhi Police today as it heard Pinjra Tod member and Delhi riots accused, Devangana Kalita's petition against the circulation of selective information against her in the media.

We cannot allow this kind of affidavit on record unless someone takes responsibility (for the averments made in it). This is a Court of record.
Delhi High Court said.

In the affidavit filed under the signature of Deputy Commissioner, Crime, Delhi Police, it was asserted by Delhi Police that Kalita was "guilty of peddling of a false narrative of a political vendetta, state-sponsored pogrom, persecution and malicious prosecution."

After hearing the counsel for Kalita, a Single Judge Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru pointed out that it had asked for a "personal affidavit" of the DCP concerned, detailing the facts to his knowledge regarding the press note which was circulated.

"We wanted to know whether the note was run in an authorized manner..(whether) it was a thought out process..", the Court explained as it stated that the purpsoe was to bring some sense of responsibility.

The Court remarked that the affidavit filed in the matter, instead, contained "multiple allegations" which were beyond the scope of the petition.

Stressing that such allegations were "not warranted" in the present proceedings, the Court added that since the allegations were now on record, they would be "tested".

If the affidavit remains, we will examine these allegations..deponent has sworn by the facts.. If affidavit is on record, we will comment on it.
Delhi High Court stated.

Clarifying that there cannot be a gag order, the Court reiterated that the scope of the petition was only to examine the checks and balances with respect to the Police's power to issue press communique with respect to an accused.

While the Court offered Additonal Solicitor General, Aman Lekhi to withdraw this affidavit and "put a responsible affidavit" in its place, Lekhi explained that the affidavit before Court was a combination of the personal affidavit of the DCP and the counter affidavit filed in the matter.

ASG Lekhi stated that Delhi Police will file another affidavit in the matter just to clarify its stand.

He subsequently informed the Court that during his arguments, he would stick to the law and not deal with the affidavit.

"We will see on the next date", the Court stated.

During the course of the hearing, counsel for Kalita, Adit S Pujari raised objections on even the affidavit in the matter being given to media.

He pointed out that there is an interim order in the petition, which had restrained Delhi Police from sharing information regarding the cases against Kalita.

"This is an exercise in futility.. It (a document) passes so many hands before being filed.", the Court remarked.

Pujari argued at length on the consequences that flow from the Investigating Agency's decision to selective leak information qua an accused, even before cognizance of the chargesheet is taken.

He objected to Delhi Police's stance that Kalita was trying to obfuscate the investigation by arguing that she has been in custody since late May.

The matter would be heard next on July 15.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news