New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday barred AAP activists and supporters of party leader Manish Sisodia from entering the gallery, the passage or the courtroom during his production in matters related to the alleged excise policy scam in which he has been arrested by the CBI and the ED.
While allowing journalists to cover the proceedings, Special Judge M K Nagpal directed them to maintain a safe distance from Sisodia and to not interview him.
The judge passed the directions following the June 1 incident when the senior AAP leader had alleged he was manhandled by security personnel during his production.
The court, which initially suggested Sisodia’s production only through video conference (VC), passed the order noting the submission made by the AAP leader and his advocate, who said the accused had a right to be produced physically in the court for effective hearing and participation in the proceedings.
“Therefore, keeping in view the above submissions, it is being directed that Sisodia will now be produced physically before this court on further/future hearings of this case, as has been desired by him. However, it is also being directed that no public person or activist of the Aam Aadmi Party or any supporter of the accused shall be permitted to enter the gallery or passage to the court room and also the courtroom,” the judge said.
The judge asked media persons coming to “the gallery/ passage and court for reporting the proceedings to maintain a safe distance from the accused and not to make any attempt to take his interview”.
The judge also directed the lockup in-charge at Rouse Avenue Districts Courts premises to “immediately” bring to the notice of the court if there was any violation of the directions.
During the proceedings, the judge told the defence counsel that hybrid hearing of cases was allowed and, if consented, directions could be issued by the court for Sisodia’s production through video conference only and not physically “so as to prevent re-happening of any such incident and also to ensure safety of the accused”.
However, Sisodia submitted he was not interested in production through video conference and that he had a right to be produced physically.
He submitted it was the duty of the security officials to ensure his safety during production, and his right to be present and to participate in the hearings of his case should not be curtailed on account of lapses or failure on their part.
After Sisodia alleged he was manhandled by security personnel, the city police had moved an application seeking court’s permission to produce him only via video conference, contending that bringing him to court “creates chaos” due to the presence of AAP supporters and media in the corridors.
The AAP leader was arrested by the ED in a money laundering case related to the alleged scam on March 9 from Tihar Jail where he is currently lodged in judicial custody.
The 51-year-old Aam Aadmi Party leader was first arrested by the CBI, which is probing alleged corruption in formulation and implementation of the excise policy.
He moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking bail in the cases being probed by the CBI and ED.