New Delhi: An activist arrested for screening banned documentary “India's Daughter” in Delhi has approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against him.
21-year-old Ketan Dixit, who sought stay on the proceedings and investigation initiated against him after lodging of the case on March 12, said he was illegally arrested and detained which “clearly violates” his rights under the Constitution.
The youth in his plea before a bench of Justice Manmohan Singh also challenged his arrest by Delhi Police and said that he be compensated for the “unnecessary harassment”. “The present case is a fit case for the intervention of the high court. The petitioner (Dixit) has already suffered unnecessary harassment at the hands of Delhi Police due to the registration of a false and frivolous FIR and illegal detention.
“It is necessary in the interest of justice that the same be quashed as whatever is alleged of the petitioner to have committed was based on goodwill and awareness promotion in the society,” the petitioner's counsel told the court. The documentary by filmmaker Leslee Udwin, based on the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in Delhi, was screened in village Awalkheda near Agra on March 8.
After the telecast, Uttar Pradesh Police called Dixit for questioning. His laptop, pen drive and projector were seized, but he was let off after five hours, the plea said. Four days later, on March 12, the film was screened at Delhi's Ravidas camp where three of the five men convicted in the case lived. An FIR was registered in the case immediately.
Police booked Dixit under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 228A (disclosure of identity of the victim of certain offences) of the IPC. The activist, who is on bail, challenged the FIR, saying there was a March 3 advisory of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, advising that ‘all private satellite and current affairs TV channels not to telecast the documentary'. “Besides the advisory the Delhi Police also moved a plea and got an order from a trial court to restrain the media from broadcasting or publishing the documentary,” Dixit said in his petition.
He said a private individual viewing the documentary with some people cannot be held to be “media” as envisioned by the ministry.
The petitioner also said that at no place or time has he disclosed the identity of the victim while screening the film. “This case puts in question the competency of Delhi Police to conduct itself in initiating complaint and prosecution in this case as they are not the authority concerned...,” the plea said.
Dixit alleged that till date the police has not supplied him with a copy of the FIR and also not explained the reason for his arrest and detention.
He was only released the next day (March 13) after his father was asked to sign some documents, a copy of which was not given to them, the petition said.
Seeking direction against the Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi government, Delhi Police Commissioner and Station House Officer of R K Puram police station here, the petition said that no useful purpose would be served in prosecuting the FIR as there is “no element of criminality” against him. The documentary, which was broadcast by BBC, was banned by the government after its contents - including an interview of the one of the rapists who showed no remorse, triggered outrage.