On Friday, the Delhi Government told the Delhi High Court that it has approved the appointment of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to represent Delhi police as a Special Counsel in a case pertaining to Delhi Riots.
The Home Department of Delhi Government communicated to the Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police on May 29 that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has been appointed as a Special Counsel to represent Delhi Police in the case pertaining to Delhi Riots.
This was told by Mr. Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel for Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, to the Court.
The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar was further informed that apart from Mr Mehta, a team of Special Counsel for Delhi Police would also include ASG Maninder Acharya, ASG Aman Lekhi, Standing Counsel (UOI) Amit Mahajan, and Advocate Rajat Nair.
This development came in a writ petition moved by Aqil Hussian, wherein a controversy arose between the Delhi Government and the Central Government relating to who would represent the Delhi police.
On February 26, Rahul Mehra had objected to the appearance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in the case filed by Harsh Mander seeking probe into Delhi riots.
Following that, on February 27, the Lieutenant General of Delhi passed an order appointe Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to represent Delhi Police in the case filed by Harsh Mander.
However, there still existed a confusion if the LG can directly appoint counsel for Delhi police by passing the Delhi Government. This has been now settled with the Delhi Government also approving the appointment of SG Tushar Mehta and the other three special counsel.
On May 29, Mr Rahul Mehra submitted that , it is only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the GNCTD that the power under Section 24(8) Cr.P.C. to appoint the Special P.P./ Special Counsel can be exercised by the Lieutenant Governor, and that the Lieutenant Governor has no independent power to make such appointments.
Mr. Mehra further submitted that the Delhi Police has accepted that position since it had applied for the appointment of Special P.P./ Special Counsel to the Ministry of Home, GNCTD and appropriate orders have been issued by the Home Minister of Delhi Government, Mr Satyendra Jain.
Appearing for the Centre, Mr Amit Mahajan submitted that the approval of the Home Minister of the GNCTD has been obtained by the Delhi Police, so as to avoid the controversy and the same does not necessarily reflect the understanding of the Union of India with regard to interpretation of the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in State (NCT of Delhi) Vs. Union of India & Another, (2018) 8 SCC 501.
While noting that the present controversy does not survive for determination in the present case, the court observed:
'We hope and expect that such like issues would be similarly resolved in other cases as well, so that the focus of the Court remains on determination of the merits of the disputes before it, rather than on such like issues.'
The matter will now be heard on June 08.
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