The Hon’ble sessions court in Delhi on Tuesday took cognizance of the offenses of sedition (Section 124A), promotion of enmity between groups (Section 153A IPC), abetment (Section 109 IPC) and, criminal conspiracy (Section 120B IPC) against 18 accused including former JNU student Umar Khalid in the Delhi riots conspiracy case, who are already booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (hereinafter referred as “UAPA”).
The Hon’ble Court took cognizance of these additional offences based on sanction received under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The Court instructed that the copy of the chargesheet be supplied to the accused in a Pendrive. Moreover, the Hon’ble judge stated that “it is grossly unfair and unjustified that the reporting of the exact contents of the charge-sheet is reported in the media before cognizance is taken.”
Thereafter, Special Public Prosecutor additionally submits “Leakage is affecting us also, it’s hampering our probe,” and it’s not fair to say that the leaks happened only from the authority. He added.
After considering the statements made by multiple accused, the Hon’ble Judge while delivering the order stated, “There is a world of difference between an accused and a convict. Though it is not possible to lay down guidelines regarding media coverage, in my opinion, there should, at least, always be a disclaimer when reporting, whether it is the version of the police/prosecution or the accused instead of presenting as if it is the order of the Court.”
Additionally, it is the fundamental right of every person accused of offence, to be provided the opportunity of being heard and defend himself or it would amount to gross violation of the principle of natural justice.
The Hon’ble Judge while pronouncing the order added “Labelling the police as completely unfair or the accused as a convict itself, is not a healthy sign and which impacts the process of the criminal justice system.” “It is one thing to report generally about the charge-sheet but quite another to reproduce it as it is and thus, obviously, the question of leakage would arise. This is grossly unfair and unjustified and the court expects that it would not occur in the future,” the court concluded.