A city court has acquitted an RJD candidate for the Delhi civic polls earlier this year of the charge of defacing public property by pasting her posters on an electric pole, as the complainant himself was the investigating officer in the case.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Khurana absolved the woman, who had contested from the Zakir Nagar ward in South Delhi on a Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) ticket, of offence under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property (DPDP) Act.
According to the prosecution, a campaign poster carrying candidate Kausar Imam Siddiqui’s name and photograph appealing for votes were found pasted on an electric pole, a government property, in Jamia Nagar area.
Acquitting the woman of the charge, the court said, “It is well-settled law that the complainant should not be the investigating officer in a case so as to rule out any ill will or bias against the accused.”
The court also noted that there was lack of evidence to show that police officials were present at the spot at the time of the commission of the alleged offence.
It also said that the photograph of the poster on the pole could not be relied upon as prosecution evidence as electronic evidence has to be proved by way of a certificate under Evidence Act.
“Digital photograph by an electronic device is a piece of electronic evidence which can only be proved by way of certificate under section 65B of the Evidence Act which has not been done in the present case for reasons best known to the Investigating Officer.
“Merely filing of a photograph does not suffice and does not make it an admissible piece of evidence,” it said.
“Therefore, considering the totality of facts and circumstance, in my opinion, prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts. Accordingly, accused Kausar Imam Siddiqui is held ‘not guilty’ and is acquitted of the offence punishable under DPDP Act,” the magistrate said.
The complaint was lodged by a sub-inspector alleging that the poster was found on April 14 on an electric pole near a school in Batla House in Jamia Nagar to appeal for votes for the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCD) elections held on April 23.
An FIR was registered under section 3 of the DPDP Act which provides that whoever defaces a public property by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material except for the purpose of indicating the name and address of the owner of such property, may face up to one-year jail or fine which may extend to Rs 50,000 or both.
The woman had denied the allegations and claimed she was innocent as she did not paste any poster on the pole.
( Source – PTI )