AAP govt rejects police proposal to appoint special public prosecutors in Delhi riots cases

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New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) The AAP government on Friday rejected the Delhi Police's proposal for appointing special public prosecutors to argue cases related to the riots that took place in the national capital last year.

According to a government statement, the Cabinet discussed recommendations of Lt Governor Anil Baijal to approve the appointment of police's lawyers in cases related to violence during a tractor rally by farmers on January 26 and last year's riots in northeast Delhi and rejected it.

No reaction was immediately available from the LG office over the Delhi Cabinet's decision.

'In a big decision today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Cabinet refused to allow Centre's lawyers from appearing in northeast Delhi riots Cases,' stated the Delhi government statement.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24, 2020, after violence between the Citizenship (Amendment) Act supporters and its protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and over 700 injured.

In the northeast Delhi riots issue, the Cabinet asserted that the Delhi High Court and the trial courts had repeatedly raised 'serious questions on the investigations' by the Delhi Police in several cases where special public prosecutors were appointed at the request of the force, the government statement said.

Sources claimed the Cabinet decision has 'little practical implication' because a panel of six special public prosecutors are already appearing in over 600 riots cases for one year.

The Delhi government had in July last year also rejected the proposal of the Delhi Police for the appointment of special prosecutors in the riots cases. The LG had overturned the Delhi government's decision and directed the home department to grant approval to the Delhi Police's proposed panel of lawyers.

Baijal had rejected the cabinet decision by exercising his special power under Article 239AA(4) of the Constitution by reserving the matter of appointment of public prosecutors, for consideration by the President of India.

The Delhi Cabinet, in its meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, observed that the courts have 'raised serious questions' on the 'fairness' of the investigation carried out by the Delhi Police in the riots cases, the government statement said.

'It had also observed that in such a situation, a free-and-fair trial of these cases would not be possible by a panel of lawyers selected by the city police itself,' it said, adding that in one case related with the riots, the court had also fined the DCP (North-East) of Delhi Police for 'miserably failing in statutory duties'.

The cabinet noted that the courts had 'remarked' that the Delhi Police had conducted 'dubious investigations' earlier in the cases where lawyers of their preference were appearing, added the statement. PTI VIT NSD NSD

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