Supreme Court pulls up Delhi police over Kejriwal’s protest

Having taken to task the police, Justice Lodha said: “Our role is only to see that the constitutional provisions are respected and law is enforced.”

By (IANS)

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Published: Sun 26 Jan 2014, 12:05 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 12:54 AM

The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Delhi Police for allowing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues to hold dharna (sit-in) on January 20 and 21 when prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were in force.

Directing the Delhi Police commissioner to file an affidavit within a week, the apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh asked him to respond to the question as to why it permitted the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues to assemble and hold dharna when prohibitory orders were in force in the area.

The court order to the commissioner came on a petition by advocate N. Rajaraman who questioned Kejriwal sitting on dharna with his cabinet colleagues and supporters when prohibitory orders were in force. In another PIL, the court issued notice to the central government and the Delhi government on whether a chief minister who is expected to uphold the rule of law could act in its violation.

The court said petitioner M.L. Sharma raised the question of constitutional importance as he (Sharma) said “a person can’t be a law maker and the law breaker at the same time”.

“Dual personality is not permitted,” observed the court.

The court framed two questions for the police commissioner to respond that included “Why despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, the law enforcement machinery/police permitted five or more persons to assemble unlawfully?”

The second poser the police commissioner is to answer is “whether law enforcement machinery/police acted appropriately and with utmost expedition in dispersing the unlawful assembly by force under Section 129(2) of the CrPC after such assembly was informed under Section 129(1) to disperse, and despite such command, the assembly did not disperse”. As additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra sought to make some submission, Justice Lodha asked him: “Tell us why did you permit them to assemble when prohibitory order was in force. Police will close its eyes and let it happen first and allow the people to gather.”

“Why was the gathering permitted,” Justice Lodha asked.

“Law enforcement agencies have some obligations. They can’t permit the law to be broken before their eyes,” Justice Lodha said, adding “normally, we don’t interfere in such matters but when law is broken, we will interfere”. Repeating its query as to “why did police at all permit the people to gather”, the court asked: “Police have no plans to stop those assembled even after 24 hours or 36 hours. For various reasons, tell us there must be some reason. Tell us what is the reason.”

Having taken to task the police, Justice Lodha said: “Our role is only to see that the constitutional provisions are respected and law is enforced.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday released a video showing policemen beating a man and pulling out his wallet. Three policemen have since been suspended. This comes just days after Kejriwal led a two-day protest against Delhi Police earlier this week. The AAP posted the video online with a message that asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde whether action would be taken against the policemen caught on camera. The party said the footage was shot by a “vigilante” near Delhi’s Red Fort January 12. It shows two uniformed men beating a man with a stick, pulling out his wallet and taking money from it.

“Just after the video was uploaded, the police came into action and three cops were suspended,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

“Delhi Police is known to be brutal. Every now and then we hear stories about Delhi Police’s brutality. Here is another such video. Not only does the video clearly show Delhi Police’s inhuman behaviour, but also the urban legend of police extorting money is caught on camera,” AAP said in its message.


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