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Delhi HC issues notice against appointment of prosecutors in Farmers Protest and Delhi Riots Cases

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Greeva Garg –

Published on August 27, 2021, at 15:46 IST

The Delhi High Court has issued a notice while hearing a petition filed by the Delhi Government, challenging an order by the Lieutenant Governor (LG), Anil Baijal, overturning the Cabinet’s decision to appoint a panel of prosecutors of its choice to argue cases related to Farmers Protest and Delhi Riots.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice favourable to the petition filed by the Delhi Government and posted the matter for further hearing on October 21.

The plea stated, appointment of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) by the Delhi Police impinges on the independence of SPPs and violates the constitutional guarantee of a fair trial.

For the matter of appointing public prosecutors in the cases related to violence occurred during Farmers’ Protest and Communal Riots in Delhi in 2020, the Delhi Government earlier rejected the recommendations of Delhi Police and constituted a panel of its own choice.

Later, Baijal invoked his special powers under proviso to Article 239AA(4) of the Constitution of India and appointed Delhi Police’s chosen advocates SPPs to conduct the concerning matters, pending for approval by President.

Senior Advocate Dr. AM Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi Government submitted that, “On the issue which certainly cannot fit the description of exceptional situation to protect national interest, when there is an appointment of PPs, the LG is referring to the President. Your Lordships cannot allow the escape route of the proviso, it affects Federalism.”

Alleging LG’s routinely interference, Singhvi also submitted that, “Repeated invocation of reference power to nullify the very essence is wrong…This is the third time this reference power is used to nullify the elected Government’s mandate. Your Lordships would not want to allow such misuse.”