The Delhi Police Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that disclosing the list of names of persons arrested or detained for the Northeast Delhi riots would “prejudice the right of the accused”.
Delhi Police filed a status report following a May 12 court order, wherein it had sought the police response on a plea seeking early hearing for a petition by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who wanted the list of persons arrested in connection with the February riots to be made public.
Police, in its status report, stated that Karat is neither an accused nor a complainant nor a witness in any of the 751 cases registered in connection with the riots.
Stating that she has no “locus standi” in the matter, the Delhi Police provided, in a sealed cover, the list of persons detained or arrested since March 24.
The petition was listed for hearing before a bench headed by Justice Vipin Sanghi, who adjourned it.
The status report filed by Delhi Police’s counsel Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair further said that “a conscious decision has been taken to declare the FIRs connected to riot as sensitive”.
“This has been done primarily to preserve communal harmony as putting these FIRs in public domain would disclose the names of complainants, witnesses and accused persons. However, this is in no way to prejudice the rights of the accused person,” the reply added.
In response to the Delhi Police’s status report, Karat’s counsel contended that the averment on behalf of Delhi Police has failed to indicate whether the proper procedure in respect of declaring such FIRs as sensitive has been followed.
On the police’s claim that Karat has no right to access a list of the arrestees, Karat’s counsel contended that in terms of Section 41C of the CrPC, such information is contemplated to be publicly available information and necessary to assure the rights of arrested persons as well as public accountability.
Karat had sought that a list of the arrested persons be put up outside the police control room and police stations in the district, and should be updated on a case-by-case basis.
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