New Delhi, March 8: The Delhi government has been stating that it would initiate action against some television channels which had aired videos of the event at JNU.
The JNU event of February 9th hailing the martyrdom of Afzal Guru turned controversial after allegations of anti India sloganeering were made.
The Delhi government was quick to react to this incident and came out with a report suggesting that some of the videos relating to the event had been doctored.
The Delhi government acting suomotu on the issue had obtained a report on the authenticity of the video from the Truth Labs, Hyderabad. It is on the basis of this report that the Delhi government has threatened to sue some of the television channels.
The question is can a report by the Truth Labs be accepted by the court? Has the Truth Labs summoned for the original video footage before concluding that the videos were doctored. Courts normally do not consider reports of a private agency.
A private agency's inputs can be used as an investigating tool but not as evidence. Secondly Truth Labs cannot direct the police to submit original files.
Can Truth Lab's report be used as evidence?
As per the rules the investigating agency can rely officially on the forensic test results given by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory at Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Bhopal and Pune.
While all these labs are under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the one at Delhi works under the Central Bureau of Investigation. Hence technically the Delhi police could not place the report of the state government on record.
How did the Delhi Government order a forensic test of the videos without even consulting the investigating agency? The original footage of the incident at the JNU is with the investigating agency. Clearly they were not asked for the same and neither can a Truth Lab order the Delhi police to send the clips.
This would mean that the videos that were sent for forensic testing were picked up from the social media and messaging applications. A forensic test cannot be conclusive unless it is ascertained on the basis of the original footing.
If a forensic report is taken to the Supreme Court or any other court and it is found that the same was done without using the original footing, it would not stand judicial scrutiny. The other point is that did the Truth Labs rely on the original footing that the television channels have?
Why the Delhi police ignored the report?
The Delhi government during a submission before the High Court had questioned why the police had not relied on this report.
First and foremost not just the Delhi police, but any other investigating agency in the country can rely only on the reports submitted by the six government run forensic laboratories.
In some cases police rely on private labs.
For instance there was an instance where an officer had relied on a private lab to subject an accused to a lie detector test.
This was clearly an excess and not permissible. Before anyone is subject to a lie detector test, the consent of the accused is needed.
Moreover, the police also need a directive from the court. Some officers to avoid such hassles approach private agencies.
However, the findings can never be used before a court of law.