Fight over who will represent Delhi Police continues, HC asks lawyer to show authorisation letter

New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) The usual controversy over who will represent the police in a Delhi violence related case irked the Delhi High Court which on Wednesday directed a central government counsel to show that he was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor (LG) to represent the probe agency in the matter.

The high court which was hearing the Delhi Police’s plea challenging a trial court’s order granting bail to the owner of a private school in a case related to communal violence in north east Delhi during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in February.

The high court had earlier stayed the trial court’s order granting bail to accused Faisal Farooq, the owner of the private school.

The issue cropped up when Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi and central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan said they have been authorised to represent the Delhi Police in the matter while Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra maintained that Central Government has no power to file this petition against the June 20 order of the trial court and the state has to be represented by him.

This controversy has also happened in the matter earlier when, on June 22, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta withdrew his name from the case “out of disgust”, and also in other similar cases.

Justice Suresh Kait, on Wednesday while holding the proceedings through video conferencing, directed Mahajan to file a proper document during the day to establish that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has appointed him as the counsel to file this petition.

“It is made clear that if the counsel who has filed the petition fails to bring the approval letter from the LG, the interim order (of stay) shall be vacated,” the judge said, adding that a copy of the documents to be filed be also given to Mehra.

The matter was heard by the court in two sessions- pre lunch and post lunch.

While in the pre-lunch session, Lekhi maintained that he was appearing for the Delhi Police, he was not present in the second session of the hearing and on being asked by the court, Mahajan replied that it was embarrassing for the attorneys to appear in such matters and a controversy is raised every time.

“Due to this controversy ASG Aman Lekhi is not comfortable to address the court and has not appeared in the post lunch session,” the court noted as Mahajan’s submission in its order.

When the court asked Mahajan to show the authorisation letter of LG, he said he was given instructions by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Legal) to file the petition on behalf of Delhi Police and appear in the case and sought time to place on record the LG’s order.

“Till date you do not have the letter from LG, then how you are appearing. If you do not have sometime in your hand, say so then I will deal with it,” the judge said.

The high court also took strong objection to the fact that on the first date of hearing, Mehra had appeared and raised the issue that the Central government cannot file the petition on behalf of Delhi Police, however, on the next date of hearing on June 23, neither he nor anyone else appeared and it was under the impression that on behalf of State ASG Lekhi is appearing in the matter.

The high court noted that however, this time additional standing counsel, Delhi government, Rajesh Mahajan appeared on behalf of Mehra and said that the petition is not maintainable as it is filed on behalf of the state by the Central government.

The high court also observed that this issue was being raised in every third matter and it has seen it in the orders passed by other benches of the high court.

In the criminal case, Faisal Farooq, owner of the Rajdhani School in Shiv Vihar locality was among the 18 arrested, for alleged involvement in burning and damaging property of the adjacent DRP Convent School.

The police has challenged the trial court bail order saying the decision was ex-facie unwarranted.

The Delhi Police had on June 3 filed a charge sheet before the court against Farooq and 17 others in the incident in which the building of a private school was burnt down in North East Delhi.

The trial court, in its bail order, had noted that the charge sheet filed against him in the case was bereft of material showing his alleged links with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group and Muslim clerics.

It had directed Farooq to surrender his passport and not leave the National Capital Region without permission of the court. He should mark his attendance on every alternate Wednesday at the police station concerned. It also asked him not to tamper with evidence or influence the witnesses.

The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had filed the charge sheet against the accused for allegedly conspiring with the Popular Front of India, Pinjra Tod group, Jamia Coordination Committee and Hazrat Nizamuddin Markaz for creating riots, in and around his school.

It has also been alleged that protestors against the CAA had received funds from the PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF). PTI SKV HMP SKV RKS RKS