Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Delhi Police "violates" yet another law: It hasn't made public sedition FIR for arresting JNU's Kanhaiya Kumar

Kanhaiya Kumar
By Our Representative
The Fist Information Report (FIR) regarding the controversial arrest of Jawarhalal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar on February 10 on charges of sedition is still not been put in public domain by the Delhi Police, a senior human rights and Right to Information (RTI) activist, Venkatesh Nayak, has revealed.
In an email alert, Nayak, who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi, has said, that while the media reported that the Delhi Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) at the Vasant Kunj North Police Station on 11 February – a day after the incident – the Delhi Police’s dedicated page on its website for the proactive disclosure of FIRs has not listed the JNU FIR.
Nayak's revelation comes close on the heels of news coming in that Kumar was attacked in a Delhi court on February 17 twice. He told a team of lawyers sent by the Supreme Court spoke to Kumar and reported that he was "terrorised".
“The transparency measure for making public FIRs was initiated under the directions of the Delhi High Court in 2010 in the matter of Court on its own Motion through Ajay Chaudhary vs State [2011 CriLJ 1347]. However, the FIR relating to the incidents at JNU could not be located on this website”, Nayak complains. 
“Under the regime of transparency established by The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) media reports are the only source of information regarding the contents of the FIR registered by the Delhi Police”, he underlines.
While the 2011 Delhi High Court had ruled that FIRs containing 'sensitive matters' may be exempted from proactive disclosure as an exception, Nayak says, “The concerned Deputy Commissioner of Police must issue a speaking order as to why such an FIR will not be disclosed, and send a copy of the same to the Area Magistrate.” 

Violation of RTI Act

According to Nayak, “The Delhi Police has not publicly stated its reasons for keeping the 'JNU FIR' confidential despite the fact that the issue has become a matter of widespread debate not only in New Delhi but also across the country and elsewhere.”
He adds, the FIR has not been made public despite the fact that Delhi Police is also under “a statutory duty to volunteer reasons for non-disclosure of the FIR under Section 4(1)(c) of the RTI Act.”
Comments Nayak, “The result of maintaining this confidentiality is that many 'facts' as reported to the police leading to the registration of the FIR two days after the incidents at JNU are not clear, especially whether any student was actually named the 'accused' in relation to the allegations or not.”
“Public access to this kind of information is crucial to determine whether the actions of the Delhi Police in arresting the students and also demanding their custody (instead of rendering them to judicial custody) is justified and proportional or not”, Nayak points out.
Further says, Nayak, the Delhi Police is not complying with the law of the land in another manner. In 2009 Parliament amended the arrest-related provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) requiring every State Police Headquarters to prepare a database of persons arrested by the police and make it accessible to the public.
“Section 41C of the CrPC which became operational in 2010 makes it mandatory for the Delhi Police to create a database containing details such as the name and contact details of every person arrested, the name and designation of the police officer making the arrest, the nature of offences for which the arrest is being made and publicise them for the reference of the people”, Nayak says.
“However”, Nayak says, “The Delhi Police has not created and publicised such a database of arrestees till date, nor has it reported the arrest of the students at JNU through its press releases”, adding, “Somehow respect for and obedience to the law seems to be the responsibility of ordinary citizens only while law enforcement agencies can go scot free.”

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