Delhi riots: SC declines to stay criminal proceedings against ex-AAP councillor

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a plea by ex-Aam Aadmi Party councillor Mohammed Tahir Hussain challenging the Delhi High Court’s order, which refused to stay the proceedings in FIRs registered against him in connection with 2020 Delhi riots.

Senior advocate Maneka Guruswamy, representing Hussain, submitted before a bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and C.T. Ravi Kumar that it is a settled law that there cannot be two FIRs for the same incident.

However, the bench said it is not inclined to interfere with the September 16 order of the Delhi High Court as it is an interim order. Hussain moved the apex court challenging the high court order.

Guruswamy submitted that it has put her client in a peculiar situation that charges are framed against him for identical offences arising out of the same incident. She added that the same prosecution witnesses are relied upon by the investigating agency.

The bench said it finds no reason to interfere at this stage when the matter is subjudice before the high court. Guruswamy further argued that the accused cannot be subjected to fresh investigation with regard to the same incident and it was not tenable as per the Code of Criminal procedure as well as the judgments of the apex court.

The bench replied that this aspect was noted by the high court in its September 16 order and observed that it does not appreciate petitions being rushed to the apex court when the matter is sub-judice. The bench told the counsel to go back to the high court, and “your doors are not closed. We do not appreciate everything coming before us”.

It observed that a notice has been issued by the high court on Hussain’s applications for quashing the FIR registered against him for rioting and under sections of the Arms Act at the Khajuri Khas police station, and the proceedings emanating from the FIR. And, it also noted that the matter is posted for further hearing before the high court on January 25. Hussain has been in judicial custody since March 16, 2020.

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