A Gurugram court last week imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 on Republic Bharat anchor Syed Suhail for delaying its proceedings in a 2013 case registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Eight journalists – including Deepak Chaurasia, Ajit Anjum, Chitra Tripathi and Suhail – are accused in the case.
The journalists are accused of airing “edited”, “obscene” videos of a 10-year-old child and her family in 2013, and linking the video to the sexual assault case against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu
Hearing the case on May 31, additional sessions judge Shashi Chauhan expressed her displeasure at Suhail changing his lawyer yet again by filing a new power of attorney application. The case had already been adjourned five times this year: on February 2, March 3, March 20, April 18 and May 19.
“Today again a fresh power of attorney has been filed on behalf of accused Suhail seeking adjournments and arguments are not advanced,” the order said. “Suffice it to say that the present case is pending for arguments on charge since January 11, 2023 but the arguments on the charge have not been completed as the learned defence counsels have taken adjournments time and again.”
The judge then imposed the penalty of Rs 10,000 on Suhail, noting the case has been “pending since the year 2020”. Suhail’s new lawyer told the court he was “engaged today itself and has not gone through the facts of the file”. The court said this was the “final opportunity” for the accused to complete their arguments in the case, which is at the stage of framing charges. The chargesheets were filed in 2020 and 2021.
So far, the lawyers of producer Abhinav Raj and journalists Chitra Tripathi, Rashid Hashmi and Ajit Anjum have completed their arguments on framing of charges. The lawyers of reporters Lalit Singh and Sunil Dutt have partially completed their arguments.
The lawyers representing Chaurasia and Suhail have not begun their arguments on charges. On May 31, Chaurasia was exempted from appearing as a case was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.