Delhi HC once again berates police for media leaks in Delhi riots case; asks them to fix responsibility

THE Delhi High Court Friday berated the Delhi police for allegedly leaking to the media a supplementary chargesheet filed in a case related to the Delhi riots even before a competent court had taken cognisance of it.

Irked with the continuous leaks taking place, Justice Mukta Gupta told the Delhi police that it would have to fix responsibility on the officer responsible for such leaks.

“If police do not probe who the person behind leaks is, then who else will?”, Justice Gupta asked counsel appearing for the Delhi police.

Justice Gupta told the police that an offence has been committed.

“Chargesheet was your property. These are proven allegations. If your officer has leaked it, it’s an abuse of power, if for sanction this was entrusted to someone else, it’s a criminal breach of trust and if the media has taken it away, then it’s theft”, Justice Gupta told the Delhi police.

Justice Gupta asked the Delhi police to file the affidavit indicating on who the responsibility had been fixed for the leaks.

The matter will be heard next on March 25.

These observations were made by Justice Gupta when advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, for accused Asif Iqbal Tanha, informed the court that even the latest chargesheet in the case had been leaked to the media in a similar fashion.

Agarwal pointed out the order of a Delhi Court disapproving the publication of the exact contents of the chargesheet even before cognizance was taken.

The high court was hearing a petition filed by Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha seeking a direction to Zee News, OpIndia, YouTube, and Facebook, to take down sensitive/confidential information allegedly leaked to them by the police, and issue guidelines on media reporting of ongoing criminal investigations.

The police claimed to have conducted a vigilance inquiry into the leaks but a dissatisfied court termed it “half-baked” and a “useless piece of paper”. It went on to call the report “worse than…what they do in an ordinary theft case”.

The Delhi police have been maintaining that none of their personnel involved in the investigation have leaked evidence details of the investigation.

The Leaflet