Delhi court on Wednesday stopped the city police from searching the premises of advocate Mehmood Pracha, the lawyer representing several accused and victims of north-east Delhi riots cases.
Chief metropolitan magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma said “till the pendency of this application, the search warrant issued against the applicant is stayed”.
Pracha’s office was searched by the city police on Tuesday in connection with an FIR alleging that the advocate had tutored a witness to initiate a false case.
When Pracha learned about the alleged raid, he filed an application before CMM Sharma seeking modification of a March 2 order, wherein the judge had given permission to the police to search his premises in Nizamuddin East for the only purpose of seizing a computer.
In his application, Pracha said the demand of the investigating agency for the hard disk of the computer is illegal as all documents are already in the police’s possession from an earlier search on December 25, 2020.
On Wednesday, the court reserved its order on the advocate’s plea which has also sought a direction to the police to retrieve only the “relevant information from his hard disk” in the presence of a magistrate.
Pracha said a soft copy of the materials was as good as a hard copy under the Information Technology Act. He said that he would sacrifice himself but would not give up the confidential information of his clients which is stored on the hard disk
During the course of arguments, the advocate also argued that it was clear from the video of the riots that his complaint was not false.
“Larger issues are involved. Entire judicial system is involved,” he pleaded.
Opposing the plea, the Delhi Police said seizing the original hard disk was essential as it ought to be sent to a forensics laboratory for examination. They said a mirror hard disk can be put back into the computer.