Shraddha case: Delhi Court restrains media house from publishing content of charge sheet

10 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

delhi National

The court had provided the accused's attorney the right to file a copy of any judgement if he so desired.

The Saket court in Delhi issued an order on Monday in response to a plea filed by the Delhi Police against a channel and other channels seeking an order prohibiting them from disseminating content from the charge sheet, including digital evidence, in the Shraddha murder case, claiming that it is “not” a public document.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rakesh Kumar Singh issued a restraining order against the channel and scheduled a hearing for April 17th. The court stated that both parties will be given a comprehensive hearing. SPP Amit Prasad stated that the Delhi Police had already sought the court based on solid information that one of the media outlets had acquired the audio-video evidence linked to the Narco test and the Practo app.

“Delhi Police approached the court on credible information that one of the media houses has accessed the audio-video evidence related to Narco test and Practo app and is likely to disseminate the same today,” Amit Prasad told ANI.

“It has been learned that some media channels propose to broadcast one such audio-video evidence which is an integral part of the charge sheet filed in case the Shradha Walker murder case. Such telecast/broadcast may cause irreparable damage to the cause of justice in this sensitive case which is sub-judice before the competent court,” read an official release from DCP PRO.

This case is related to the alleged murder of Shraddha Walkar on May 18, 2022 by his live-in partner Aftab Amin Poonawala. In light of the attorneys’ strike in lower courts, Delhi’s Saket Court deferred the hearing on charges against accused Aftab Poonawala in the Shraddha Walkar murder case on April 6.

Aftab was forcibly brought into the courtroom. The next hearing date is April 14. After observing that the lawyers were missing from work, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Manisha Khurana Kakkar delayed the case. The defense attorney will make an argument on the charge.

Attorneys also skipped work on Thursday to protest the suspected murder of advocate Virender Narwal in the Dwarka region. On the last day of the hearing, April 3, the court accepted a copy of the judgement filed by Special Public Prosecutors (SPP) Amit Prasad and Madhukar Pandey into consideration.

The court had provided the accused’s attorney the right to file a copy of any judgement if he so desired. SSP Amit Prasad argued that there is a clear ruling that a charge under Section 201 of the IPC can be filed against the person who destroys evidence in order to protect the primary offender as well as the person who committed the main offence.

Previously, the counsel for accused Aftab had contended that the allegations of murder and evidence vanishing could not be put together. These charges can be phrased differently. The Delhi Police contested the claim and requested more time to issue judgements.

Lawyer Akshay Bhandari stated that either I (Aftab) or the evidence might be charged with murder. The defendants cannot be charged with murder and evidence vanishing under sections 302 and 201 of the IPC, the attorney said. It can be framed in a variety of ways.

He contended that the accused might be charged with murder under Section 302 IPC or with concealing the principal culprit under Section 201 IPC. Lawyer Bhandari contended that simply stating that I (Aftab) am guilty of murder is insufficient. They only have eyewitness statements. The Prosecution must demonstrate how the offence was committed.

SPP Amit Prasad argued that joint charges for evidence disappearance might be filed under Section 201. He also claimed that a chain of evidence, witness statements, a record of past events and circumstances, forensic evidence, manner of offence, and other evidence were presented to the court. The Delhi police have ended their arguments against the defendants on the charges of murder and evidence disappearance.