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Delhi Court criticises media for publishing unverified facts against Umar Khalid

  • The media has been criticised by a Delhi court for publishing allegedly confessional statements of Umar Khalid in the Delhi riots conspiracy case, without clarifying that such confessions are not admissible as evidence.

  • An application had been filed by the JNU student leader Umar Khalid, who has been in custody since September 14, complaining about media campaign that he had confessed his involvement in the conspiracy behind the communal riots which took place in Delhi in February 2020.

  • The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate North East, Karkardooma Courts, Delhi stated that “The news reports have only highlighted that accused Umar Khalid had confessed his involvement...However, none of the news item is shown to have made a clarification to its readers/viewers that such a statement, even if actually made, cannot be used by the prosecution as evidence.”

  • It was observed by the court that one of the basic principles of criminal jurisprudence is presumption of innocence. The important factor is that the media has the ability to mobilize the people’s thinking process but there is a risk of prejudice if it fails to do that with care.