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‘She herself going to media’: Delhi HC rejects PIL against media disclosing Swati Maliwal’s identity, warns action against lawyer for ‘publicity interstate litigation’

The court told petitioner advocate Sanser Pal Singh, "There is a political hue in this petition. It is very very apparent. You have done this only for publicity. I want to ask the Bar Association, what are the lawyers doing today?"

The Delhi High Court on Thursday rejected a Public Interest Litigation seeking action against media houses for revealing the identity of AAP MP Swati Maliwal while reporting the alleged assault on her by Arvind Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar. The court showed its displeasure to the petitioner, advocate  Sanser Pal Singh who filed the PIL over the circulation of an FIR copy related to the case on social media, television channels and newspapers.

The petitioner said in his PIL that he was astonished to find out that the first information report (FIR) registered in Maliwal’s case was being circulated publicly through news channels and social media platforms.

The plea sought direction to social media platforms and media organizations not to disclose the name or address other identities of the victim in sensitive matters such as rape/molestation/ POCSO cases. It also sought directions to the respondents or the public at large to pay special attention while dealing/reporting such sensitive ease against victims of rape/molestation/POCSO cases.

The bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora after hearing the initial submissions, termed the plea as “publicity interstate litigation” and refused to entertain the plea. The Division Bench also that there is political colour behind the plea.

The court also questioned the petitioner that when the victim was herself going to all channels and talking about it, who is he to file a PIL. “Victim is talking about it. She is going to all the channels and talking about,” the Court said.

The court later showed displeasure with a lawyer for filing a frivolous plea and warned that we would have to complain against you to the bar council.

The bench said, “It is very clear that your vision is coloured and blurred. You are not talking about victim shaming… There is a political hue in this petition. It is very very apparent. You have done this only for publicity. I want to ask the Bar Association, what are the lawyers doing today? Not fair what you are doing today.

The court also warned disciplinary action against the lawyer and said, “You are supposed to be a person trained in law. You are supposed to be a person who sees all the versions. We will have to complain about you to the bar council”.

Noting the adverse remarks from the judges, the petitioner Sanser Pal Singh withdrew the petition.

Notably, Swati Maliwal has not filed any rape or molestation case against Baibhav Kumar, she has filed an assault case. The name of victims can’t be disclosed only in rape and other sexual harassment cases, there is no such bar on regular assault allegations

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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