The Delhi government on Monday alleged in a court that some of the video footage of the February 9 protests at JNU campus aired by three TV news channels were ‘doctored’ and sought their prosecution.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass, after hearing the submissions of the Delhi Government's counsel, fixed the matter for consideration on the complaint on May 26.
"I am posting the matter for consideration on May 26," the magistrate said.
Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for the Delhi government, said the channels reported about clash between students groups at the JNU and showed footage of the incident which happened at the university campus on February 9.
He said the video was inaudible so the channels had showed a bubble on the screen with an alleged text ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and the the anchor/reporter suggested that such anti-national slogans were being shouted by the JNU students which would not be tolerated by the country.
These programmes were also uploaded on the websites of these channels on YouTube, he said. He argued that a CD of these footage was send to forensic science laboratory and the experts have opined that all these bubbles were insertions and tapes were tampered with.
"Because of this we saw violence across the country and in this court complex also. You had seen it. Post violence incidents were also seen," the counsel said.
Hariharan, who was accompanied with battery of lawyers, sought the prosecution of the three channels, their editors and anchors for the alleged offences under various sections
including 415 (cheating), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Information and Technology Act.
The Delhi government sought examination of its complaint under Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It has made 12 respondents as parties in the matter, including three news channels, their editors-in-chief, directors and anchors.
The plea, which was filed through SDM of Vasant Vihar Sunil Dutt Sharma, also annexed list of witnesses which they sought to examine in support of the complaint.
The hearing saw heated exchanges between the counsel for the Aam Aadmi Party government and advocate Vijay Aggarwal who appeared for one of the channels.
The government's counsel objected to the intervention of Aggarwal saying his client was a proposed accused and he had no locus to appear in the matter at this stage.
However, the channel's counsel said he was addressing the court and urged the magistrate to give him a hearing. Meanwhile, the counsel moved two separate pleas on behalf of one of the three channels, seeking to stay the proceedings of this complaint as the investigation on a first information report registered on February 11 in the JNU protest at Vasant Kunj North police station was pending.
The other plea sought prosecution of unknown persons who were part of filing the government's complaint for allegedly making false claim in the court. Hariharan read out a portion of the complaint that said, "The accused knowingly and with malicious intent have caused damage and/or injury to the students of JNU and to the JNU institution and have disrupted communal harmony, public tranquility and security in Delhi by transmitting a forged/ fabricated/ doctored/ altered video(s). These video(s) are forged/ fabricated/ altered in material form.
"It is evident that the doctoring, use, dissemination and broadcast of these videos was deliberate and intentional and the accused persons thus created false document(s). They have used the false documents as genuine. The accused persons are therefore liable for prosecution under Sections 465(punishment for forgery) and 471 (using as genuine forged document or electronic record) of the IPC."