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Monday, March 08, 2021

Can’t have parallel judicial system: Centre on plea in Delhi HC against fact-finding reports

Dharmesh Sharma, represented by senior advocate Ramesh Jethmalani, had challenged five reports, including by the DMC's fact-finding committee and the Citizens & Lawyers Initiative, which was edited by senior advocate Chander Uday Singh.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
February 24, 2021 12:48:45 am
Northeast Delhi riots, Delhi HC, Delhi riot fact-finding committee, Delhi Minorities Commission, DMC, Delhi news, Indian express newsA total of five reports on the riots are under challenge in the case. (Express archive)

STATING THAT there cannot be a “parallel judicial system”, the Centre told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that a petition challenging the reports of fact-finding committees set up by various bodies, including the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC), on the riots in Northeast Delhi last year “needs an examination”.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the Division Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that “tribunals” come up whenever there is an incident, and they issue summons and call witnesses. “Can there be a parallel judicial system? I cannot have my own tribunal. If you have a grievance, go to the competent court. I cannot have my own fact-finding committee,” he said.

The petition was filed by Dharmesh Sharma, the administrative head of DRP Convent School in Shiv Vihar which was set on fire during the riots.

Sharma, represented by senior advocate Ramesh Jethmalani, had challenged five reports, including by the DMC’s fact-finding committee and the Citizens & Lawyers Initiative, which was edited by senior advocate Chander Uday Singh.

The petition said the reports directly affected the cases registered by police on the DRP Convent School fire, and interfered with the due process of the trial. It said the organisations did not have any mandate or statutory backing, and the court could summon the DMC report and look into it.

Mehta submitted that the DMC is a statutory body and, even if the prosecution chooses not to rely on its report, the courts can ask for the report and the defence can use it too. “It (the petition) needs an examination,” he submitted.

In its report, the DMC had concluded that BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s speech at Maujpur had triggered the violence in various areas. “Police were also complicit and abetted the attacks,” it said, citing multiple testimonies. The DMC’s fact-finding committee was headed by M R Shamshad, Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record.

Seeking their stand on the petition, the Division Bench issued notices to the Centre and Delhi Police, and asked them to file their response by March 26.

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