The Punjab and Haryana High Court in an order dated November 10, 2022, stayed the order of arrest against TV anchor and Journalist Deepak Chaurasia in a 2013 POCSO case filed against him.

The order of arrest was issued by a Special Court in Gurugram to arrest him for allegedly airing morphed, edited, and obscene video of a 10-year-old girl in connection with Asaram Bapu's sexual assault case.

Justice Vivek Puri while staying the arrest of Chaurasia directed him to appear in the Trial Court on or before November 17 and further also directed him to move an application for bail/recall of warrant of arrest a d the same to be disposed of in accordance with the law.

The TV anchor is facing trial in the case in an FIR registered under Section 67 of the Information and Technology Act, Sections 469, 471, 180 and 120B IPC and Section 23 of POCSO Act at Police Station Palam Vihar, District Gurugram, Haryana.

The Petitioner-Chaurasia had assailed the order of the Trial Court dated October 28, 2022 vide which his bail was cancelled, bail bonds and surety bonds were cancelled and forfeited to the State and the Petitioner was ordered to be summoned through warrant of arrest.

The Counsel appearing for the Petitioner Sumeet Goel contended before the Court that on account of health issues, the Petitioner could not appear before the Trial Court on the date fixed as he was admitted to a hospital due to some health issues and that his confinement in the hospital prevented him from appearing in the Court below.

The Court noted that the discharge summary indicates that the Petitioner was admitted to hospital on October 28, 2022 i.e., the date of hearing in the trial Court and that the confinement of the Petitioner in the hospital has resulted in non-appearance in the trial Court.

The Court observed, "It is further directed that the arrest of the petitioner shall remain stayed and the coercive steps as ordered in the impugned order against the petitioner shall remain in abeyance till the disposal of the bail application and for a period of 07 days thereafter in the event, the application is dismissed."

The case was registered at the instance of the relative of the child in December 2013 and news channels namely News 24, India News and News Nations were accused of airing the video. As per reports, former News 24 managing editor Ajit Anjum, anchor Chitra Tripathi and Chaurasia are among eight people charge-sheeted in the alleged offence.

It has been alleged that the video aired partially showed the face of the girl, the complainant's wife, and some other women.

In the order of the Special Court, it had objected to Chaurasia's absence during the trial.

The Court had also expressed displeasure holding that although Chaurasia had sought exemption, owing to his poor health, however, no proof of the same had been submitted before the Court.

Earlier, bailable warrants were also issued against three investigating officers after the Court reportedly found deficiencies and shortcomings in the supplementary chargesheet and electronic and documentary evidence.

Cause Title - Deepak Chaurasia v. State of Haryana (CRM-M-51969-2022)

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