The Delhi High Court on Friday granted more time to the Centre and Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) to respond to a plea by the AAP-led Delhi government challenging the decision to allow lawyers chosen by the Delhi police to argue as Special Public Prosecutors (SPP) in cases related to this year’s Republic Day violence and the last year’s north-east Delhi riots.
A bench presided over by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh adjourned the matter for further hearing on January 22, 2022.
Senior counsels Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Rahul Mehra representing the Aam Aadmi Party government requested the court to direct the respondents to file an immediate response.
According to the city government’s petition, the July 23 orders of the LG has invoked the proviso to Article 239AA(4) of the Constitution to refer to the President the matter of appointment of Delhi Police’s chosen advocates as SPPs in cases related to the farmers’ agitation and February 2020 riots in north-east Delhi.
The appointments have been chosen by the Delhi Police and have a serious conflict of interest, the plea stated, praying directions from the Court to enable the regular public prosecutors to continue so as to not jeopardise fair trial in the said cases.
As per the present case, neither the Delhi Police nor LG has complaints against the work of the regular public prosecutors in conducting the cases related to the farmers’ agitation and northeast Delhi riots. There are also no complaints that the cases are being delayed due to an inadequate number of public prosecutors. Thus, there existed no reason for the Delhi police to seek an appointment of SPPs or LG to approve the same, the plea read.