Open to trial court to consider Devangana’s fresh plea: HC

Activist has sought videos of anti-CAA protests in riots case

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said the earlier order of rejection would not come in the way of the trial court in considering the fresh plea of Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita seeking copies of certain videos of anti-CAA protests concerning a pending Delhi riots case against her.

The High Court said it will be open to the trial court concerned to consider the same afresh.

Rejection order

Disposing of Ms. Kalita’s petition challenging the rejection order passed last year, Justice Subramonium Prasad said that the order was passed by the trial court considering that the investigation against other accused in the case, at that stage, was still ongoing.

The judge noted that now the case was at the stage of cognisance of the chargesheet filed in the case.

“Mere reading of paragraph [in trial court order] indicates the context in which the observations were made [that is] primarily because the investigation was not complete qua all other accused. Now the stage of taking cognisance under Section 207 (of Code of Criminal Procedure) has reached. It would be open for the Magistrate to consider the application afresh if moved by the petitioner without being prejudiced by the observations made in para 27 (of the previous order),” the court said.

Special public prosecutor Amit Mahajan clarified that the investigation was not “complete” and a supplementary chargesheet has to be filed in the case.

Ms. Kalita, in her plea filed through advocates Adit S Pujari, Tusharika Mattoo, and Kunal Negi, had sought copies of videos of anti-CAA protests and other electronic data available with the police in the matter that was filed along with the chargesheet in the case related to the riots in Jaffarabad area of north-east Delhi.

Before the trial court, Ms. Kalita’s counsel had sought copies of pendrive containing video clips between February 22 to February 26; DVD containing video clips of the incident on February 25 and CD containing photographs and video clips of the accused; DVD containing video clips of protests of January 5, 2020, and DVD containing video clips under Jaffarabad metro station between February 22 to February 23.

On December 7, 2020, the High Court had sought a response from the police on Ms. Kalita’s plea.

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