A court in Delhi on Friday disposed off advocate Mehmood Pracha’s plea challenging the Delhi Police raids on his office, Live Law reported. The court observed that the objections raised by Pracha were baseless.

“Let the search warrant be executed in accordance with law subject to the safeguards as per the expert opinion,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma said.

Pracha, who has been fighting cases on behalf of many accused in the large-scale communal violence that broke out in the Capital in February 2020, had approached the court on March 10, challenging the Delhi Police Special Cell’s search warrants after they raided his office. The court had stayed the search warrants till March 12. The police had searched Pracha’s office in December too.

During Friday’s hearing, the judge said that collection of evidence was intrinsic to the inquiry, Bar and Bench reported. “It is imperative for the IO [investigating officer] to collect best form of evidence during investigation as per its own discretion,” the judge said. “The decision of the IO cannot be interfered with by the court nor accused can dictate him as to how evidence is to be collected, if it is clear that the other data can be protected from being interfered with by the IO.”

On March 19, the court had reserved its order on the matter. During the hearing, Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad, representing the Delhi Police, had urged the court to vacate the stay order on the search, contending that it was limiting the scope of investigation into the matter.

Prasad also objected against the court’s observation made in the March 13 hearing, where it had cited Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, which it said protects data and files related to Pracha’s clients. The public prosecutor however argued that the attorney-client privilege under Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be extended to Section 93 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Section 93 of the CrPC states that a court can issue a search warrant to a person against whom such a warrant has already been issued under Section 91 of the CrPC, but there is reason to believe that he/she will not produce the document summoned for.

Prasad had also said that that an accused cannot be allowed to dictate the terms of an investigation. Bar and Bench reported.

“Today there is an accused who is a lawyer, tomorrow there will be politician or doctor,” Prasad said, according to Live Law. “But by putting such question to investigating agency, are we not prejudging it?”