New Delhi: Two days after Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet rejected a panel of lawyers chosen by the Delhi Police to represent it in cases related to the communal riots in northeast Delhi, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal overruled the decision Thursday.
Confirming the development to ThePrint, an official from Baijal’s office said the L-G used his special powers under Article 239A(4) of the Constitution to overturn the cabinet’s decision.
Under this Article, the Delhi government is bound to follow the L-G’s orders, added the official.
Baijal issued orders to endorse the lawyer panel chosen by the Delhi Police instead of the team selected by the Home Department of Delhi government to represent it in cases pertaining to the riots that took place in February.
The Aam Aadmi Party government Tuesday expressed displeasure with the six names, saying the panel suggested by the Delhi Police might go against the dire need for a “fair trial” in the riots cases.
AAP’s official Twitter handle stated the cabinet has directed the home department to appoint the best lawyers for a fair and impartial trial.
‘Kejriwal trying to appease a certain section’
Following the development, the Kejriwal government in a statement to the media said, “… the Delhi government is compelled to issue an interim order to approve the panel of Delhi Police.”
The Delhi Police had written to Baijal about the appointment of six senior advocates, who would argue 85 cases related to the northeast Delhi riots and the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests on its behalf in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court.
The names suggested by the Delhi Police included Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi.
Following the letter from Delhi Police, Baijal last Monday asked the Kejriwal government to decide on the matter expeditiously within a week.
Sources in the L-G’s office told ThePrint that this development only reiterated how “smart a politician Arvind Kejriwal was” given that he knew this would be L-G’s final decision two days back itself.
“The chief minister was asked over a week ago to respond to the L-G. How come he decided to respond and come up with these concerns at the last minute,” a second senior official in L-G’s office, requesting anonymity, told ThePrint.
The official also said Kejriwal is “playing politics and trying to appease a certain section of people”.
What did the cabinet say?
The cabinet Tuesday observed that there should not be any punishment or harassment of innocent people, but the criminals should be punished severely.
During the meeting, the cabinet also noted that Justice Suresh Kait of the Delhi High Court had earlier observed that the Delhi Police is taking the entire judicial system for a ride on the Delhi riot cases.
The cabinet also noted that various session courts and media have questioned the role of the Delhi Police during the riots and its investigation.
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