Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

[Delhi Riots cases] Lt Governor order on appointment of Special Public Prosecutors set aside: Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra tells Delhi HC

The Court was hearing a petition filed by former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan challenging the extension of the statutory period to conclude the investigation in a case against her related to this year's Delhi Riots.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court was informed today that a "suo motu order" issued by the Lieutenant Governor on the appointment of Special Public Prosecutors for the Delhi riots cases has been set aside by the Home Minister of Delhi (Ishrat Jahan v. State).

Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) for Delhi government Rahul Mehra made the submission during the hearing of a petition by former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan challenging the extension of the statutory period to conclude the investigation in a case against her related to this year's Delhi Riots.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait heard the matter today.

It is Jahan's case that there were no compelling reasons to grant extension of time for the investigation in the case, and that the report of the public prosecutor before the trial court was devoid of any application of mind.

Advocate Lalit Valecha argued that the investigation qua Jahan was already complete.

On a previous occasion, following objections on the status report being filed through a Central Government counsel, the Court had allowed Mehra to file a status report in the case. The Court had also asked Delhi Police to instruct Mehra in this regard.

Consequently, Standing Counsel Mehra today argued on behalf of the Delhi Police.

He stated that the extension was duly granted in compliance of the ingredients of Section 43D of the Unlawful Assembly Prevention Act and that the scope of inquiry by the Court was very limited.

Mehra further pointed out that the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, which extended the period of investigation by 60 days, was passed after hearing Jahan on that aspect, though the same is not mandated.

He stated that the investigation in the case was ongoing and would be completed within the extended timeline.

After completing arguments on merit, Standing Counsel Mehra informed the Court that pursuant to its order, he was receiving all "professional cooperation" from the Delhi Police.

"I have full cooperation of my department", he said.

Mehra also made a reference to Advocate Amit Prasad, who was appointed as one of the Special Public Prosecutors for the. Delhi Riots cases.

He said that through an order dated July 17, the "suo motu" appointment of Special Public Prosecutors by Lt Governor Anil Baijal had been "set aside" by Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, who is also the Home Minister.

In response, Advocate Amit Prasad referred to an order passed by the Directorate of Prosecution appointing him as the Special Public Prosecutor in the FIR at hand.

Justice Kait, however, refused to hear any submissions on the issue.

"I am not touching this issue."
Justice Kait

The Court clarified that it was going to hear Advocate Prasad as well, since the issue of who would represent Delhi Police was pending adjudication in another case.

Central Government Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan also made brief submissions, pointing out the judgment passed by the Court earlier this month in the Sharjeel Imam case.

After hearing the parties, the Court reserved its order in the petition.

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