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High Court Issues Notice On Delhi Govt's Plea Challenging LG's Decision Appointing Prosecutors For Arguing Farmers Protest & Delhi Riots Cases

Akshita Saxena
27 Aug 2021 7:00 AM GMT
High Court Issues Notice On Delhi Govts Plea Challenging LGs Decision Appointing Prosecutors For Arguing Farmers Protest & Delhi Riots Cases
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The Delhi High Court has issued notice on a petition filed by the Delhi Government against an order of the Lieutenant Governor, overturning the Cabinet's decision to appoint a panel of prosecutors of its choice to argue cases related to Farmers Protest and Delhi Riots.A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh heard Senior Advocate Dr. AM Singhvi for the Delhi Government...

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice on a petition filed by the Delhi Government against an order of the Lieutenant Governor, overturning the Cabinet's decision to appoint a panel of prosecutors of its choice to argue cases related to Farmers Protest and Delhi Riots.

A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh heard Senior Advocate Dr. AM Singhvi for the Delhi Government and posted the matter for October 21.

The Delhi Govt had rejected the Delhi Police's recommendations and had appointed a panel of its own choice. Later, the LG invoked his special powers under proviso to Article 239-AA(4) of the Constitution and appointed Delhi Police's chosen advocates as SPPs to conduct the said cases, pending a decision from the President.

In its pela, the Delhi Government has argued that 'appointment of SPPs' is a routine matter and not an exceptional matter for which reference to the President can be made.

"On the issue which certainly cannot fit the description of exceptional situation to protect national interest, when there is an appointment of PPs, the LG is referring to the President. Your Lordships cannot allow the escape route of the provisio...it affects Federalism," Singhvi submitted.

It is also alleged that the LG has been routinely interfering in the appointment of SPPs and undermining the elected government, which also goes against the grain of Article 239-AA. In this regard, Singhvi stated,

"Repeated invocation of reference power to nullify the very essence is wrong...This is the third time this reference power is used to nullify the elected Govt's mandate. Your Lordships would not want to allow such misuse."

He highlighted that in State (NCT of Delhi) v Union of India, (2018) a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had held that the executive power of the Delhi Government extends to all matters in the Concurrent List and State List (except Entries 1, 2 and 18) to the exclusion of the Central Government, and in such matters the LG is bound by the aid and advise of the Petitioner.

Similarly, Singhvi pointed out that in Government (NCT of Delhi) v Union of India, (2020) a division bench of the Supreme Court categorically held that the power to appoint an SPP under S.24(8), CrPC vests with the Delhi Govt.

Even otherwise, the plea states, appointment of SPPs by the investigating agency, i.e., Delhi Police impinges on the independence of SPPs and violates the constitutional guarantee of a fair trial.

"The irony is that PP is appointed by us are independent persons. You cannot want to have PPs that are a part of the investigation arm which is the Police...In Kalita's case, your Lordship has already judicially criticzed shoddy Police conduct. So all the more reason that your Lordships would want a well sanitized prosecution arm," he added.

The plea is filed through Additional Standing Cousnel for GNCTD, Shadan Farasat.

Case Title: GNCTD v. LG

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