‘Media Leak Probe Worse Than That of Petty Theft’: HC Raps Police

The high court reportedly described the enquiry report submitted before it as a “useless piece of paper.”

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India
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Delhi High Court.
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The Delhi High Court, on Monday, 1 March, pulled up the Vigilance Branch of Delhi Police for failing to identify the source of media leak of classified information.

According to Live Law, the court was hearing Delhi Riots conspiracy case accused Asif Iqbal Tanha’s writ petition against his media trial.

In a scathing indictment over the Delhi Police’s inability to discover a source of the leak, Justice Mukta Gupta of the Delhi High Court said, “This vigilance enquiry is even worse than what they do in a petty theft case.”

Further, as per The Indian Express, the high court described the enquiry report submitted before it as “half-baked” and a “useless piece of paper".

The Court also warned the authorities of harsher orders being passed and asked for the Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) to be present on 5 March for next hearing.

WHAT ELSE DID THE COURT SAY?

According to Live Law, the Court pointed out that the leakage of case file information did not become unsubstantiated just because the Delhi Police had failed to identify the source of the leakage. The Court further dismissed the enquiry report’s conclusion of the leakage being unsubstantiated.

Observing that the leaked document was a Disclosure Statement which had not just been “lying on the road”, the Court stated that such documents were handled by hand by senior IAS officials.

“Mind you, these are senior IAS officials. Where did you send the enquiry, who did you enquire of? Where were the files sent? Who took them to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and who brought them back from there?”   

WHAT IS THE CASE?

Asif Iqbal Tanha had filed a writ petition alleging that several media channels, including Zee News, had in their reports referred to facts from Tanha’s “Disclosure Statement”. He had also said that the broadcast of information from the said document by these media channels prejudiced his right to a free and fair trial, as well as subjected him to a media trial.

Advocate Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for Tanha, had pointed out that the Disclosure Statement would anyway not be relied on in a court of law, and yet it had “been put out there even before the first ball is played in the court”.

Tanha had sought the said news reports to be taken down and a probe to be initiated into why this information was leaked in the first place.

WHAT DID THE DELHI POLICE SAY?

Following a court ordered probe, the Delhi Police had claimed that the allegations of leakage were “unsubstantiated”.

(With inputs from Live Law and The Indian Express.)

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