The Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Delhi government on Tuesday rejected the proposed list of advocates to represent the Delhi Police in court cases linked to the February violence. The list was sent by the police proposing the names of six senior advocates to represent the force in 85 cases related to the Delhi riots in the High Court and the Supreme Court.
“Delhi Cabinet led by Hon’ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal dismisses the panel of advocates appointed to represent Delhi Police in Delhi riots case,” read a tweet on AAP’s official website. “Delhi cabinet directs Home Dept to appoint the best lawyers for a fair and impartial trial.” The names suggested by the Delhi Police included Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, reported ThePrint.
The Cabinet’s decision is likely to lead to a confrontation with the lieutenant governor. Earlier this month, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijlal had written to Kejriwal, requesting him to reconsider the objections raised by Deputy Chief Minister and acting Home Minister Manish Sisodia. “In view of urgency and sensitivity of matter, it is requested that the decision of Cabinet be communicated expeditiously, preferably within a week,” Baijal was quoted as saying in his letter.
In June, the AAP government and the LG’s office sparred over the appointment of 11 special public prosecutors investigate 24 cases of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Following this, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the list of 11 special public prosecutors. The appointment was done under Section 24 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The violence and investigation
Clashes had broken out between the supporters of the new citizenship law and those opposing it between February 23 and 26 in North East Delhi, killing 53 people and injuring hundreds. The police were accused of either inaction or complicity in some instances of violence, mostly in Muslim neighbourhoods. The violence was the worst Delhi saw since the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
In multiple chargesheets filed last month, the police had claimed the violence in Delhi was a result of a conspiracy to defame the Narendra Modi-led government. They alleged that people who had organised protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were the conspirators. However, the police have failed to produce video evidence so far.