A court here on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking to file of another FIR adding sedition charges over an incident of alleged anti-national sloganeering at Ramjas College of Delhi University, stating the authenticity of video footage provided by the complainant was not clear. Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra said the complainant had relied upon “unauthenticated audio-video footage” obtained from the social media. The court observed that the Delhi Police had already lodged an FIR in the incident. Hearing a criminal complaint from advocate Vivek Garg, who alleged that “massive anti-national slogans” were raised by the members of Left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA) and the Students Federation of India (SFI) at a Ramjas College event, the court said no purpose would be served by filing another FIR, as it would lead to the unproductive exercise of duplicating the proceedings.
“The fact that authenticity of the audio-video footage in question is not clear and it is obtained from unknown social media sources, is admitted by the complainant as well as in the action taken report,” the court said. “In these peculiar circumstances, when the authenticity of the audio-video footage is doubtful, its sources unknown and the complainant himself is unable to vouch for its credibility, it will be premature to issue any direction for addition of sedition charges.” However, the court granted liberty to the probe agency to adopt an appropriate course of action in case sufficient and concrete evidence surfaces regarding charges of sedition as the investigation is on and the forensic lab reports are still awaited.
The Delhi Police had told the court that it had received raw video footage from various news channels of the incident and were examining students and teachers to identify who allegedly raised anti-national slogans at Ramjas College. Police earlier said the authenticity of video footage provided by the complainant was not clear as it had been obtained from unknown social network and media websites and “apparently looks doctored”.
On February 21, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had gathered at the college and raised slogans to protest against an event in which JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited. On February 22, the ABVP activists clashed with the AISA and SFI students, which left several students and teachers injured.