Delhi HC dismisses case against UNI Editor

Delhi HC dismisses case against UNI Editor

Agency News

New Delhi, Sep 30: Delhi High Court has dismissed an appeal of a former employee of United News of India (UNI) against its present Editor and Former Editor in a case related with the SC/ST Act, saying it as frivolous.

Justice Mukta Gupta recently dismissed the appeal of Virendra Verma challenging the judgment of the Additional Session Court in a case related to alleged violation of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

“View expressed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge based on the evidence on record is plausible. Hence, the impugned judgment acquitting the respondents can’t be said to be perverse warranting interference of this Court,” Justice Gupta said.

It is to be mentioned here, that the petitioner had filed a case of harassment under Section 3 (1) (10) of the SC/ST, against the then editor of UNI Neeraj Bajpai, Present Editor Ashok Upadhyay and an official of the then Union. The petitioner had alleged that he had received a letter dated March 2, 2013, from the UNI office, pursuant to which he had gone there to meet Mr. Bajapai on March 14, 2013, in his room, where Mr. Upadhyay and the official of Union were already present. “In course of a discussion, they shouted at me and used abusive and derogatory remarks,” the petitioner had alleged.

However, the lower court had dismissed the petition on the ground of the non-uniformity between statements recorded by the petitioner and Samrendra Kant Pathak, the sole witness from petitioner side and the circumstantial evidence. The lower court held, “Virendra Verma admitted having received calls on March 14, 2013, at 4:51 PM and 5:01 PM. The cell ID chart, when compared with the CDR, reflects that the location of the mobile phone of Virendra Verma was at Mehrasons Jewellers and DLF City Square respectively, thus, making it unlikely for him to be present in the office of UNI at Rafi Marg at the time of the alleged incident.” However, the petitioner had challenged the order.

In her judgment, Justice Gupta also appreciated the Additional Sessions Judge saying that the trial court had rightly excluded the testimony of Samrendra Kant Pathak from consideration keeping in mind his close, personal and professional association with the petitioner as per the rules laid down in Daya Bhatnagar case, which describes that ‘public view’ for the purposes of Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST Act would have to mean the presence of public persons. It was held that the public persons present should be independent and impartial and not interested in any of the parties and persons having any kind of close relationship or association with the complainant would get excluded.

The High Court has also accepted aspects of proximity between Virendra Verma and Samendra Kant Pathak, as both of them had acknowledged in their statement that they were facing disciplinary action of the UNI Administration before this incident. Both of them had also acknowledged that they were part of the 'UNI Bachao Andolan' being run against the officials of the Organisation. (UNI)