Delhi Police vs lawyers row: BCI demands arrest of cops within week, curb on media coverage; Delhi HC dismisses plea to review suspension

  • The Delhi High Court dismissed a review petition filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in case of the 3 November order mandating the suspension of two cops

  • Another petition by the Delhi Police seeking permission to lodge an FIR against the lawyers who assaulted a cop in the Saket district court was also dismissed

  • Bar Council of India (BCI) sought that media coverage of the matter should be restrained, alleging that they are showing the lawyers in a negative light

  • The BCI also demanded that the Delhi Police officers who shot at lawyers near the Tis Hazari Court complex following a scuffle over parking be arrested within a week's time

The Bar Council of India has demanded that the Delhi Police officers who shot at lawyers near the Tis Hazari Court complex following a scuffle over parking be arrested within a week while terming the Delhi Police protests against lawyers as 'politically motivated'.

In a statement released on Wednesday, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said that the association had earlier asked the Bar Association of Delhi to call off the ongoing strike but after seeing "Delhi Police's conduct", it cannot "sit tight over the matter".

It said the protests of Delhi Police were well-planned and the purpose was to threaten not only the lawyers but also the government and the judiciary.

"The demands of the policemen that they shall withdraw from the security of the judges and even of the judicial officers are very disturbing for a democratic country like India...," it said, while also criticising the police's demand to form a union.

The BCI in its letter has also demanded the constitution of a high-level committee to find out who was involved in the "planning the illegal protest of police" on Tuesday.

The BCI statement came on a day when the Delhi High Court dismissed a review petition filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) against the court's 3 November order mandating the suspension of two Delhi Police officers accused of shooting at lawyers near the Tis Hazari Court complex.

Dismissing the petition, the Delhi High Court said there is no need to clarify its “self-explanatory” order.

 Delhi Police vs lawyers row: BCI demands arrest of cops within week, curb on media coverage; Delhi HC dismisses plea to review suspension

A Delhi Police personnel displays messages during a protest on Tuesday. PTI

During the hearing, while addressing a bench of the Delhi High Court, the lawyers’ body had said that the police did not register their case. "Under normal circumstances, the police would have arrested anyone who shoots someone, but the police till now has not arrested the policemen," the Bar Council said.

The BCI has also sought that the media coverage of the matter should be restrained as they are showing the lawyers in "negative light”.

The Saket clash

The lawyers’ body also said that it does not have any objections to the Delhi Police's demand for peace, however, it argued that the police should not lodge any further FIR without taking the permission of the court.

The lawyers' body was referring to an FIR in another clash between the police and lawyers that took place on 4 November outside Delhi's Saket court complex.

According to reports, a video, which surfaced on Tuesday, showed a policeman being slapped by unidentified men on 4 November outside Delhi's Saket court complex. The police officer, who is in uniform, is repeatedly slapped by an unidentified individual in a white shirt and pant before he drives away. The individual also picks up a helmet, which is on the side of the road and throws it at the motorcycle.

Following this, an FIR was filed by the policeman invoking Section 392 for the robbery of his helmet. Section 392 entails a maximum of 10 years of jail.

Addressing the bench, the lawyers' body questioned the IPC provisions invoked by the Delhi Police against these men. "Who lodges an FIR under Section 392 of the IPC for 'robbery' of a helmet?" the Bar Council asked.

The court dismissed the Delhi Police's petition seeking the court's permission to lodge an FIR in the Saket case. Additional Solicitor General KM Natarag represented the Delhi Police.

Inquiry ordered in clashes

The High Court on 3 November had ordered a judicial inquiry by one of its retired judges into the clash and transfer of two senior police officials during the pendency of the investigation. The judges ruled that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer based on FIRs lodged at the behest of police officials.

The court said the preliminary departmental inquiry by the police should be completed within six weeks and the report submitted in the high court. The court also directed the Delhi government to provide a lump-sum ex gratia to advocates Vijay Verma, Ranjit Malik and Pankaj Dubey, who received gunshot injuries, of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.

The order came even as lawyers in all the six district courts in Delhi abstained from work for the third consecutive day and denied access to litigants to some of the courts. During the protest at Rohini district court, one lawyer took off his clothes and poured kerosene on his body threatening to immolate himself, while another advocate climbed atop a building in the premises.

Delhi Police personnel and their families also staged an 11-hour-long protest in front of its headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. The protest ended after assurance by senior officers that a review petition would be filed against the Delhi High Court order in connection with the clash at the Tis Hazari court complex.

Clashes were reported following a parking dispute between lawyers and on-duty police personnel at the Tis Hazari court complex on 2 November. Several lawyers and 20 police personnel were injured. In another incident at the Saket court on 4 November, unidentified persons were seen hitting a uniformed policeman on a motorcycle with his elbow and slapping him.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 06, 2019 17:40:17 IST