New Delhi: Two senior law officers got involved in a tussle in the Delhi High Court over the question of who would represent the Delhi Police during the hearings in a petition seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma over hate speeches.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court Wednesday that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had authorised him to represent the police in two matters — the petition against hate speeches, and a separate case related to the Delhi riots.
However, the Arvind Kejriwal government’s standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra informed the bench, comprising Justices S. Muralidhar and Talwant Singh, that the LG could not do so without the advice of the Delhi government.
But Mehta called the question of how the counsel was appointed a “petty issue”.
“Don’t create an ugly scene here. I am not addressing a rally. I am addressing the lordships here,” said the SG.
Mehra then submitted three judgments to bolster his submissions. One of them was a Delhi HC order from August 2016, which ruled that “it is not open to the Lt. Governor to appoint the Special Public Prosecutor on his own without seeking aid and advice of the Council of Ministers”. The ruling was later confirmed by a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court as well.
Mehta then retracted and filed an application to make the central government a party in the case. This application was allowed Thursday.
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‘LG took decision without Delhi govt’s advice’
Explaining the issue to ThePrint, Rahul Mehra said, “In this case, it was only the honourable LG who suo motu, without aid and advice having been taken by any of the council of minister, in this case the minister of home of Delhi government, went ahead and got it notified through the deputy secretary (home).
“Now since all the officers of the Delhi government, because of the services having been taken away by the Centre, report to the honourable LG, therefore obviously if he asks a peon or an additional secretary or a lower rank person in any of the departments to notify something which is illegal, they will have to conform. But in the eyes of law, it means nothing.”
So, Mehra asserted that no one else can have a right to appear on behalf of the Delhi Police unless the Council of Ministers grants a no-objection and permits them to appear in a particular matter.
Argument over filing of FIRs
The submissions made by the two lawyers were diametrically opposite too.
Rahul Mehra did not see a problem with the Delhi Police being directed to register the FIR against the BJP leaders. “I don’t see why an FIR shouldn’t be registered,” he told ThePrint, adding that if they are later found to be without evidence, the FIRs can be cancelled.
However, Tushar Mehta was vehement in his submissions against registering the FIRs, contending that the time was not “conducive” to take that step.
Both the lawyers reiterated their submissions on Thursday, after which the court adjourned the case to 13 April.
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