Twisted News on National Herald Case and Celebrations of “Liberals”!

There was an order on the case, CC No. 25835/2016, Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs Smt. Sonia Gandhi & ors, otherwise known as the National Herald case, in the Court of Samar Vishal, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate – II, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, on May 25, 2018. And then the “liberals” started spreading twisted news and were celebrating!

Let’s check how a few “liberals” painted the order vis-a-vis the reality.

THE WIRE celebrated with a below-the-belt title “National Herald Case: Court Orders Subramanian Swamy to ‘First Examine Himself’”, as if the order was from the head of a mental hospital! The Wire would do well the remember that, in the National Herald case, it is not Dr. Swamy who is on the dock, rather the accused persons Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are presently out on the bail!

The Economic Times declared that “National Herald case: Court dismisses Swamy’s application”; The New Indian Express declared “Delhi Court dismisses BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s application in National Herald case”; The Indian Express declared “Subramanian Swamy’s application in National Herald case dismissed by Delhi court”; Deccan Herald too declared “Herald case: Court dismisses Swamy’s application”, as if the National Herald case itself has been dismissed!

These headlines caused some people even to celebrate on Twitter as if the development is in the favour of Gandhis!

However, let’s dissect the actual order and see what it contained:

The order states clearly (i) the complainant, Dr. Swamy, has moved an application u/s 91 Cr.PC dated 23.06.2017, which is pending for consideration, (ii) Thereafter, complainant, Dr. Swamy, moved an application dated 05.08.2017 under section 294 Cr.PC for admission and denial of documents, and (iii) On 20.01.2018, the complainant, Dr. Swamy, moved an application for placing additional documents on record relating to income tax records. Now, all these applications are under consideration [page3-4].

The order states that “Therefore, in order to stream line this trial, it is directed that the complainant shall first examine himself as the first witness of the prosecution and shall lay the foundation of his case. Thereafter, the witnesses, official or otherwise to prove the documents by which the complainant further want to prove his case shall be summoned” [page 10].

The order further states that “Therefore, it is ordered that whatever documents the complainant
wants to summon and prove shall be summoned/proved by the witnesses, who are legally competent to prove those documents. The relevancy and admissibility of those documents shall be the decided at the stage of evidence or judgment as the case may be.  But this process of examining the witnesses, who will prove the documents, will start only after the evidence of complainant is over and it is made clear that there will be no deviation from this procedure so that this trial can be brought to its conclusion expeditiously in an effective manner [page10-11].

The order makes it clear that “Having all said and done, the application under section 294 CrPC
is dismissed and other remaining applications are disposed of with aforesaid directions” [page 11].

A balanced reporting would have been Though it dismisses application on 294 CrPC, the Court asks Dr. Swamy to lay foundation of the case though the evidence of witnesses and it also empowers him to summon the documents for fast tracking the case. The evidence shall start with Dr. Swamy himself“.

Note: ZEE News and DNA were more balanced in their reports.

Ref: Report from Bar&Bench.

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