Delhi HC orders Sunita Kejriwal to take down video recording of court proceedings in excise policy case

The HC passed the order, after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Vaibhav Singh who alleged that the video was also re-posted by Sunita Kejriwal and others.
Sunitha Kejriwal
Sunita Kejriwal, wife of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.(Videograb | ANI)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Saturday ordered to remove forthwith from social media platforms -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube -- a video recording of a court proceedings related to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case.

The video in question was about Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor, seen addressing a trial court, which was allegedly uploaded in various social media platforms.

The HC passed the order, after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Vaibhav Singh. He claimed that when Arvind Kejriwal was produced before a trial court on March 28 after his arrest in the Delhi excise policy case, he chose to address the court in person, and the video recording of that particular court proceedings was posted on social media platforms which is prohibited under the High Court of Delhi Rules for Video Conferencing for Courts, 2021.

Singh also claimed that according to the Rules, there shall be no unauthorised recording of the proceedings by any person or entity. The video was also re-posted by Sunita Kejriwal and others, he further alleged.

Acting on his plea, the HC directed social media platforms -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube -- to forthwith remove the said video. The bench of the HC, led by Justice Neena Bansal Krishna and Amit Sharma, said, prima facie, it was observed that the court proceeding recording is violative of Rule 3(vi) of Delhi High Court Video Conferencing Rules, 2021 and couldn't be permitted to remain in public domain.

"The social media platforms namely X (formerly 'Twitter'), Meta (formerly 'Facebook'), Instagram and YouTube are hereby directed to remove forthwith the audio/ video recording from their respective platforms," the HC said in its order.

While issuing notices to six respondents, including Sunita Kejriwal, asking her and others to file their replies, the HC also mentioned the list of URLs to be removed and said it should be ensured that the audio/ video is not re-uploaded on their platforms till further orders. It would again hear the matter on July 9.

The petitioner, Singh, in his PIL, sought the formation of an SIT to investigate and register an FIR against the alleged conspiracy of recording and sharing the audio and video of the court proceedings and putting the life of the trial court judge at high risk.

Singh, however, told the court that YouTube had sent an e-mail saying that it had deleted the content on its platform.

"Several members of AAP, including members of various other opposition parties, have intentionally and deliberately and with wilful intention to malign and manipulate the court proceedings done the audio and video recording of the court proceedings and circulated on social media platforms," the plea said.

The petitioner sought to "punish the alleged contemnor as per the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, and impose strict penalties on the individuals found guilty of violation of VC Rules 2021 of this Hon'ble court, as per the provisions specified in law".

The petition also sought the court's intervention to issue appropriate directives to social media platforms to ensure preventing such unauthorised recordings and their subsequent dissemination and impose penalties for non-compliance of directions on any individual or entity.

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