The Delhi government rejects the panel of lawyers proposed to represent the city police in the riots cases, observing that a free and fair trial of the cases would not be possible by the lawyers selected by them.
Keeping in mind the principles of the criminal justice system and the need to ensure independence between investigation and prosecution, the Delhi cabinet has directed the Home Department to form an impartial panel of the best possible lawyers in the country for the cases related to the Delhi riots.
The Delhi Police had, earlier, sent a proposal to the Arvind Kejriwal-led government to appoint six senior lawyers, including Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and ASG Aman Lekhi, as Special Counsel in the High Court and Supreme Court in 85 cases related to the riots in northeast Delhi and the anti-CAA protests.
The government had then rejected the Delhi Police’s proposal and said that government’s lawyer Rahul Mehra and his team were capable of getting justice in these cases.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal, however, disagreed with the proposal sent by the Delhi Home Minister and asked for the file using his special power.
He then wrote to Chief Minister Kejriwal, saying that the Delhi cabinet should take a decision on this matter.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Kejriwal cabinet thoroughly studied the proposal made by Baijal and the Delhi Police. Noting that anyone who is guilty of causing communal violence in Delhi should be punished severely, it held that there should not be any punishment or harassment of innocent people and hence, rejected Baijal’s suggestion to approve the Delhi Police’s panel of lawyers.
The cabinet further relied on the observations of Justice Suresh Kumar of the Delhi High Court who had earlier stated that the Delhi Police is taking the entire judicial system on a ride in the riot cases.
Besides this, it pointed out that various session courts and media have questioned the role of the Delhi Police during the riots and its investigations.
The cabinet hence observed that in such a situation the panel of lawyers of the Delhi Police would not be able to ensure justice in these cases and as that these cases are very important, the Delhi government’s panel of lawyers should represent these cases.
It has also noted that the investigating agency should not be allowed to decide the lawyers.
Alluding to the fundamental principle of the criminal justice system, the cabinet noted that it is not possible to expect a free and fair trial by lawyers appointed by Delhi Police.
It also rued over the way that the Lt Governor is repeatedly interfering in the decision of appointment of the panel of lawyers, citing how the apex court’s Constitution Bench has clearly stated in its July 4, 2018 order that the Lt Governor “can exercise his authority over decisions of the elected government only in the rarest of rare cases”. (IANS)