SG Tushar Mehta and ASG Aman Lekhi
SG Tushar Mehta and ASG Aman Lekhi
Litigation News

Delhi HC adjourns hearing in Safoora Zargar bail plea after SG Tushar Mehta, ASG Aman Lekhi seek time to get instructions in larger interest

Aditi Singh

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi today sought an adjournment till tomorrow in Jamia student, Safoora Zargar's bail plea on the ground that it may help summarily decide the issue. (Safoora Zargar vs State)

Safoora Zargar, who is over 23 weeks pregnant, was arrested by the Delhi Police in FIR 59/2020 earlier this year on the allegation that she delivered inflammatory speeches on February 23 at Chand Bagh, which led to violence and rioting in North East Delhi.

Last week, the Court had sought status report from the Delhi Police in the matter.

Appearing before a single Judge Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher, Solicitor General Mehta urged the Court to defer hearing in the matter by 24 hours, in larger interest, on the ground that he wanted instructions on certain issues.

When counsel for Safoora, Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan objected to the adjournment given her client's "delicate state of health", SG Mehta said,

Trust me, let it be tomorrow. It (instruction) is not on merit.. We are cognizant of the fact (that Safoora Zargar is pregnant).
Solicitor General

ASG Lekhi stated that it was advisable to adjourn the hearing as it may help decide the issue summarily and avoid further arguments in the matter.

Stating that there was no reason to not believe the Solicitor General, Justice Shakdher remarked,

"I expect him to come back with some constructive instructions."

During the course of the hearing, Senior Standing Counsel (Crl) Rahul Mehra, however, objected to the appearance of SG Mehta and ASG Lekhi on behalf of Delhi Police in the present case.

Mehra submitted that unlike another Delhi riots matter in which requisite approval was sought by the Delhi Police to be represented by a team led by the Solicitor General, no such procedure was followed in the present case.

Stating that the Lieutenant Governor cannot unilaterally appoint prosecutors, Mehra pointed out that appointment of prosecutors/special counsel can only be made on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the Delhi Government.

Claiming that even the status report in the present case was not routed through his office, which is a mandate, Mehra remarked,

They find me inconvenient. I am not a mere post office. I am an officer of the court.
Rahul Mehra

Had the file been moved, the request to appoint SG Mehta and others as counsel for Delhi Police would have been granted by the Delhi Government for this case as well, as was granted for other cases, Mehra exclaimed.

In response, ASG Lekhi stated that getting into this controversy would deviate the court from the issue at hand. He added that one could not say that only Standing Counsel Mehra could represent Delhi Police in the case.

While allowing Mehra to appear before it on the next date as well, the Court adjourned hearing till June 23.

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