New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to pass an order for prosecution of BBC and the British director of the controversial documentary on 16 December gangrape case, saying that a PIL is already pending before another bench in which the same issue has been raised.

A bench of Justice A K Pathak said that it cannot pass any order on the plea as a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini is already seized of the identical issue. The request in this regard was made by a death row convict Mukesh through his advocate, who was asked to decide whether he wanted to withdraw or pursue the matter.

A screengrab from the documentaryA screengrab from the documentary

A screengrab from the documentary

“How can we order prosecution or seizure of the material which is lying/staying in UK/abroad?” the court said in its oral observation. The convict has also raised the issue of asking the authorities to “seize” the entire documentary and its raw material.

The court also suggested the convict’s counsel to file an application before the division bench. Mukesh has claimed that he was compelled by the police to “speak the written script” prepared by documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ director Leslee Udwin.

Central government’s standing counsel Monika Arora, who was appearing for Ministry of Home Affairs, also opposed the plea, saying a similar matter is pending and will be heard on 5 August by the Chief Justice’s bench. The court has fixed the matter for 28 August.

The plea, which sought a CBI probe, alleged that the film is only “outcome of fraud and conspiracy hatched by the Delhi Police, the documentary maker, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and a private news channel with advocate V K Anand who had briefly represented Mukesh during trial of the case.

Advocate M L Sharma, appearing for Mukesh, claimed that his client was a victim of a conspiracy and due to the film, he has been again fixed in the criminal scenario. The counsel has urged the court that Mukesh’s interview, in which he was shown making derogatory remarks against women allegedly taken inside Tihar jail here in July 2013, should not be aired.

He has said the trial court’s 4 March ban order was “equally binding” upon the documentary director Leslee Udwin, BBC, a private news channel and all others concerned. “Bare reading of the prohibition order (trial court), it is not limited only to India. Order is binding in rem and the respondents, who are partners in the said procurement of the film, are duty-bound to comply (with) it and cannot release it out of India.

“Releasing the said film under different title, namely ‘Indian daughter’ upon their channel(BBC)… and youtube.com cannot be allowed in any manner and it is illegal and is also a serious case of violation of the court order,” the counsel has said.

He has also sought a direction that the documentary should not be used in any legal or judicial proceedings. His counsel has said the Centre should direct the Delhi Police to arrest the documentary maker, BBC officials and the news channel Editor, as they were engaged in airing of Mukesh’s interview.

The convict claimed that the British director had left India and edited her film. “She (Udwin) on March 4, 2015 released it in Britain.” “They also uploaded the said film upon internet and youtube.com”. Despite prohibition order by the court, several
media, print, electronic and web portal published/released the film and its contents in all over India immediate thereafter.

“Till today, the Centre and Delhi Police have not taken any legal action against them and also did not seize footage of the film original and final,” the counsel has said.

The documentary director and BBC have committed a serious crime against the petitioner as also against the country by
damaging its reputation, Mukseh has said in his plea, demanding that the film be seized and those guilty prosecuted. The plea has also blamed the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi government failing to perform their duty and not taking
any action against the film maker and the channels.

On the night of 16 December, 2012, Ram Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh and a juvenile had gangraped a girl in a bus and her 28-year-old male friend, who was with her, had been assaulted on board the vehicle, plying
illegally. The victim’s friend, a software engineer, suffered fractures in his limbs in the incident. The girl succumbed to her injuries on 29 December, 2012 at a Singapore hospital.

The juvenile accused was on 31 August, 2013 convicted and sentenced to three years in a reformation home, while the four
others were handed down death penalty.

PTI

Excerpt from:  

India’s Daughter: Delhi HC refuses to order prosecution of BBC, documentary maker