The Delhi High Court on Thursday said the police have to show “some restraint” with regard to the affidavit filed by them in response to a plea by Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, who was arrested in connection with the north-east Delhi riots.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the allegations in the affidavit were “unwarranted” in view of the limited scope of the petition, which was to examine under what circumstances the police can issue official communiques or press notes about a case and in what manner. “We cannot allow this kind of affidavit on record unless someone takes responsibility,” the High Court said, adding that some of the allegations in the affidavit were made irresponsibly.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the police, said the statements in the affidavit were made in response to Ms. Kalita’s allegations about a “witch-hunt” against her. He said the police will file another affidavit clarifying it.
The police’s affidavit had stated that Ms. Kalita had started a “media campaign/trial in her favour to gain public sympathy”. The police admitted in the affidavit that they had issued a brief note on June 2 with regard to her case as it became necessary and compelling for the investigating agency to inform the public that the narrative being presented by ‘Pinjra Tod’ and its affiliate groups was “per se false and fabricated”.
The police had said that Ms. Kalita was attempting to malign and impede the ongoing probe against her by “peddling a false narrative of political vendetta, state-sponsored pogrom and persecution”.
During the hearing, the court also clarified that it was not going to prohibit the police from issuing any official communiques in any case.
The High Court has listed the case for further hearing on July 15. It was hearing Ms. Kalita’s petition seeking direction to the Delhi police to not leak any allegations pertaining to her to the media, pending investigation.
Ms. Kalita is currently facing four different FIRs in connection with the anti-CAA protest in Jaffrabad, north-east Delhi riots and violence in Daryaganj during a protest against the new citizenship law last year.