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Court views video in Tytler-Phoolka defamation case

PTI 22 Nov 2014, 18:01:35 PM IST

New Delhi: A Delhi court was today shown a video of the interview given by Congress leader Jagdish Tytler to a news channel in which he had allegedly made defamatory statements against a senior lawyer representing the victims in 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Gaurav Rao watched the original video of the interview which was aired by the news channel in both English and Hindi.  After viewing it, the court fixed the case for hearing arguments on December 10.

Complainant and senior counsel H S Phoolka and Tytler were present in the court when the court watched the video.  During the hearing, advocate Kamna Vohra who represented Phoolka brought a VCR and and a TV set in the court room to enable the ACMM to watch the video.  The court had earlier asked Phoolka to bring on record the aired interview, in which Tytler had allegedly defamed Phoolka, in the form of VCD/DVD so that it could go through the same to ascertain the facts.

At the outset, Phoolka's advocate sought the court's permission to play the video on their VCR and TV. She also supplied a copy of the CD to Tytler's counsel.  During the arguments today, when Phoolka's counsel gave the copy of the CD to Tytler's advocate, he objected saying an electronic evidence cannot be supplied in an open envelope without any proper certificate.

To this, Vohra said she was giving the copy of the electronic evidence only to Tytler's counsel and it was not required to be sealed as the original cassette of the video was already on court's record.

“Why are they shying away from viewing the programme in front of this court. We are just complying with the court's earlier order and the accused should also watch the interview video in the court room,” Phoolka's counsel argued.  

In an earlier hearing, Tytler had told the court that he was ready to tender “unconditional apology” to Phoolka to settle the matter as no public interest was involved in the complaint filed by an individual.

Phoolka, however, had refused to accept Tytler's offer, saying “any compromise” in a serious matter like this would send a wrong message to the people.  The ACMM had said, “It has transpired that part of the allegations are oral testimony and part are in the form of transcripts in electronic video cassette....I have to go through the cassette and verify the transcripts.”

Phoolka, who has filed the defamation complaint against Tytler, had alleged that the Congress leader had passed derogatory remark about him in a news programme aired on September 7, 2004.

Phoolka, in his complaint filed in 2006, had alleged that Tytler had levelled “false and derogatory” allegations against him to harm his reputation in the society.  His counsel had earlier told the court that Tytler should also be prosecuted for the offence of criminal intimidation under section 506 of the IPC.  The case against Tytler was filed in a Ludhiana court in Punjab. Later on, it was transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on Tytler's plea.