Tushar Mehta and Rahul Mehra
Tushar Mehta and Rahul Mehra
Litigation News

SG Tushar Mehta seeks permission to withdraw his name from a Delhi riots case out of disgust after Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra's objection

Who would represent Delhi Police, Central Government or Delhi Government, seems to be a dispute that follows all Delhi riots cases before the Delhi High Court.

Aditi Singh

Who would represent Delhi Police, Central Government or Delhi Government, seems to be a dispute that follows all Delhi riots cases before the Delhi High Court. (State vs Faisal Farooq)

Today, a single Judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait took up for hearing a plea challenging the bail granted to a Delhi riots accused, Faisal Farooq.

While Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) of Delhi Government, Rahul Mehra entered his appearance on behalf of the State/Prosecution, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed that he was under instructions from the Central Government to file the present petition and also appear before the High Court.

Mehra disputed the assertions made by SG Mehta and submitted that the Central Government had no power to file the petition against order.

At this stage, learned Solicitor General submits that in this situation, out of disgust, he seeks permission to withdraw his name from the present petition.
the Court recorded.

To resolve their issue, the Court adjourned the hearing in the matter till post-lunch.

It nonetheless observed,

"Needless to state that it is up to the learned Solicitor General to appear in any matter or not unless specifically directed by the Court."

When the matter was taken up at 2:30 pm, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi attended appearance on behalf of the Central Government.

Instead of Standing Counsel Mehra who was busy with another matter, Additional Public Prosecutor Amit Chadha appeared before the Court.

APP Chadha informed the Court that the "controversy" shall be resolved during the course of the day.

The Court then issued notice in the plea and stayed that order of bail if the accused was still in custody.

The same quarrel was witnessed in yet another Delhi riots case on the same day. This matter was listed for hearing before a Single Judge Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher.

While SG Mehta and ASG Lekhi sought an adjournment in the bail hearing of Delhi riots accused Safoora Zargar, Standing Counsel Mehra objected to their appearance of behalf of Delhi Police.

Mehra asserted that obtaining requisite approvals from the Delhi Government was mandatory for the appointment of special counsel in a matter and that such appointments could not be done by the Lieutenant Governor in a unilateral manner.

Appointment of prosecutors/special counsel can only be made on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the Delhi Government, he said.

Mehra even alleged that his office was being bypassed as the Central Government found him "inconvenient".

"I am not a mere post office. I am an officer of the court.", he asserted.

The matter was adjourned for a day without any observations from the Court on who was the rightful representative of the Delhi Government.

Interestingly, in one of the Delhi riots cases titled Aqil Hussian vs State, after a similar objection with respect to the legitimacy of the appearance of Central Government counsel was raised by Standing Counsel Mehra, a request for appointment of Special Public Prosecutor/Special Counsel was made by the Delhi Police.

The Delhi Police moved a file before the Ministry of Home, Delhi Government seeking the requisite approval.

The request was allowed by the Delhi Government and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta with Additonal Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and Aman Lekhi; Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan and Advocate Rajat Nair were appointed as Special Public Prosecutor/Special Counsel to represent Delhi Police in that particular case.

Read the Order passed in State vs Faisal Farooq:

State vs Faisal.pdf
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