A Delhi court on Friday dismissed a criminal complaint filed against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for allegedly spreading fake news that Delhi Police personnel set a DTC bus on fire during the violence at Jamia area in December, on the grounds that no cognizable offence is prima facie made out.
Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava had moved the Rouse Avenue Court seeking a direction to the Delhi Police to register an FIR against Sisodia for intent to cause riot, provoke breach of peace and public mischief under the Indian Penal Code.
Dismissing the complaint, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja noted that no previous sanction has been obtained by the complainant from the competent authority to prosecute Sisodia for the offences alleged in the complaint.
For prosecution of Sisodia, prior sanction from the competent authority i.e. Central government is required as per law. In view of that, the court added: “Hence, in view of the settled position of law, the application and the complaint deserves to be dismissed being not tenable in the eyes of law."
The court further said that the allegations made in the complaint does not even prima facie relate to ingredients required for attracting the section for intention to cause riots.
“No cognizable offence prima facie made out as per contents of complaint. Accordingly, on merits also, the application as well as the complaint deserves to be dismissed."
In the complaint, Srivastava had quoted two of Sisodia’s Hindi tweets, one of which state: “BJP is setting fire to Delhi due to the fear of defeat in elections. AAP is against any kind of violence. See by yourself in this video, how fire is being set under the protection of the police."
The other read: “It should be probed what these men in uniform were putting on the bus with yellow and white cans before it was set on fire. On whose direction was it done? It is clear from the photos that BJP had asked the police to set (buses) on fire."
Praying for FIR to be registered, the complainant told the court that the tweets created a mistrust of the police amongst the public and Sisodia, being a responsible figure, tried to malign the police’s image with the sole intention to incite violence and promote disharmony, hatred between different groups and also to provoke breach of peace.
According to the court’s order, the Delhi Police had also denied Sisodia’s allegations and clarified in an official statement that its personnel were dousing the flames, by putting water on the bus which was put on fire by the rioters, hence, the utterance made by respondent by way of his tweets were baseless and false.
At least, three DTC buses were set on fire in the Bharat Nagar area of the national capital on December 15 after a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) turned violent in the area.