Delhi Violence: LG Anil Baijal Overturns AAP Govt's Rejection of Delhi Police's Lawyer Panel

The Delhi government had held on Tuesday that a free and fair trial would not be possible by a panel of lawyers selected by the Delhi Police, considering the lack of fairness in the investigations.

New Delhi: Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal has overturned the AAP government’s decision to reject the Delhi Police’s panel of lawyers to argue in the Supreme Court and the high court the cases related to the February riots in the city, an official statement said on Thursday.

Indian Express has reported that Baijal has invoked Article 239AA(4) of the constitution and referred the dispute to the President citing “differences of opinion” with the AAP government.

The LG has directed the home department to grant approval to the Delhi Police’s proposed panel of lawyers, the statement, released by the chief minister’s office, said.

The statement also acknowledged that the Delhi government will have to implement the order “at any cost” as this has been mandated by the constitution.

Observing that the courts have already raised serious questions on the fairness of investigations done by the Delhi Police in the North East Delhi riot cases, the Delhi cabinet had, on Tuesday, rejected the panel of lawyers recommended by the police.

In a meeting called to decide on the appointment of a panel of lawyers in the Supreme Court and high court for cases related to the Delhi riots, the Arvind Kejriwal government observed that in such a situation, a free and fair trial would not be possible by a panel of lawyers selected by the Delhi Police.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had met the LG on Wednesday, and in a meeting held for over 20 minutes, discussed several issues.

Earlier, the Delhi Police had sent a proposal to the Delhi government to appoint six senior lawyers, including Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and ASG Aman Lekhi, as special counsel in the high court and Supreme Court in 85 cases related to the riots and the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act Protests.

The Delhi government had nominated lawyer Rahul Mehra and his team instead.