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CM Security Lapse: High Court Directs Delhi Police To Share Sealed Cover Status Report With CM Secretariat

Akshita Saxena
30 May 2022 7:43 AM GMT
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In a petition seeking SIT probe into the attack and vandalization at the official residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in March 2022, the High Court has directed the city Police to share the status report filed by it with respect to the ongoing investigation, alleged lapses on part of its officers, etc. with the CM Secretariat.

It however expressed disinclination to share the same with the Petitioner, MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, stating that details with respect to CM security arrangement cannot be made available to public.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta ordered,

"Status report has been submitted in the Court in terms of our last order. We have perused the same. Since it concerns the arrangement at the residence of Hon'ble Chief Minister, in view of aspect of his security, we are not inclined to share the same with the Petitioner. However, a copy of the report be sent to the CM secretariat in sealed cover."

The Court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction at the report filed by the Delhi Police with respect to the security arrangement made outside CM residence. It had directed the Commissioner of Delhi Police to look into the aforesaid lapse and inquire into: firstly, whether bandobast was adequate; secondly, the reasons for failure of arrangements; and thirdly, fix responsibility for the admitted lapse.

Accordingly, today, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) submitted a sealed cover report, as per which decision has been taken that no protest will be allowed at the Civil Lines Metro station, Gates at the entry/ exit of the concerned road will be erected, etc.

The Court has now directed the authority to file a further status report concerning the investigation.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain appearing for Delhi Police pleaded before the Court to close the matter if the status report was satisfactory. He stated that the position of a PIL petitioner before a constitutional court is one of an informant and that the matter of CM security is between the Delhi Police and Court.

Senior Advocates AM Singhvi and Rahul Mehra for the Petitioner, however, urged the Court to let them participate in the hearing and issue directions for initiating departmental action against Delhi Police officers who failed to tackle the unruly mob.

Mehra further submitted,

"There are so many functionaries in Delhi. This is third such incident. What is so difficult in just making that one stretch of road protest free? Why are they so hesitant? Section 144 is imposed outside Rashtrapati Bhawan. What is the difficulty in doing so outside CM's residence?"

The Bench initially expressed willingness to share the report with the petitioners. However, ASJ Jain submitted that the position of a PIL petitioner before a constitutional court is one of an informant. Justice Sanghi then observed that given the sensitive nature of the matter, details must not to disclosed to the public. He directed to send the report to CM Secretariat in a sealed cover.

The Bench assured that issues of breaking barricades in police presence had been dealt with in the report submitted by DCP North. It enquired about the status of the FIR and investigation to gather that eight people have been arrested and notices have been served to 20 others. The chargesheet is yet to be submitted.

ASG Jain requested the Court that the departmental investigation against Delhi Police be redacted from the report before sharing it with CM Secretariat. However, the Bench declined the request.

The matter will be heard on July 21, 2022.

Live updates from hearing here.

Case Title: Saurabh Bhardwaj v. Delhi Police & Anr.

(Compiled by Shrutika Pandey)

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