November 4, 2019 1:57:07 am
In the aftermath of the violence at Tis Hazari court Saturday, with lawyers alleging their colleague was shot at and police claiming three senior officers were beaten up, the Delhi High Court has ordered a judicial enquiry, suspended two ASIs and transferred two senior police officers.
The bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar, in a special sitting Sunday, appointed former Delhi HC judge S P Garg to head the probe and asked the CBI director, IB and vigilance department to assist him. It said the report must be submitted in six weeks.
It also directed the Delhi government to provide medical treatment to the injured advocates, and ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 to Advocate Vijay Verma, who sustained gunshot injuries, and Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 to two other injured advocates.
According to police, around 2 pm Saturday, an argument took place between advocates and a sentry of the 3rd battalion, posted outside the lock-up for inmates at Tis Hazari court. It soon snowballed into violence after a large gathering of advocates allegedly entered the lock-up and assaulted police officers. Eight advocates sustained injuries and at least 20 police officers were beaten up.
The court directed the suspension of ASI Pawan Kumar, who allegedly shot the lawyer, and ASI Kanta Prasad, who allegedly dragged a lawyer into the lock up. Additional DCP Harinder Singh and Special CP Sanjay Singh were ordered to be transferred till the probe is completed. It also said there will be no coercive action against the lawyers by police.
The HC had taken suo motu cognizance of media reports and issued notices to the central government, Delhi government, Delhi High Court Bar Association, Delhi Police Commissioner, Bar Council of India, and bar associations of all district courts in Delhi.
Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government and Delhi Police, said four FIRs were registered and one will be registered today. He further said that a Special CP Vigilance is conducting an independent internal enquiry into the incident.
The HC ordered the police chief to record statements of injured advocates, and ordered that an FIR be registered immediately and copies supplied to it.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, president of the Delhi HC Bar Association, told the court: “By saying one person fired gunshot, they (police) are putting forward a scapegoat…”
Mathur said police are not allowed to carry fully-loaded weapons to the court complex, and claimed many protocols were flouted: “Many women lawyers were attacked. One advocate was dragged by 14 police officers to the lock-up… we have been attacked at our workplace.”
The Bar Council of India submitted that police were dragging its feet on the investigation.
K C Mittal, Bar Council of Delhi chairman, told the court that “the departmental enquiry… is a complete farce”, while the SC Bar Association said the accused policemen should pay for the damage to the lawyers’ chamber.
“We want some other police at court premises… not Delhi Police,” said a representative of the Delhi HC Bar Association.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the injured lawyers at St Stephen’s Hospital. “Yesterday’s incident was unfortunate… the way lawyers were fired at, I condemn it. I met the two persons who were injured in firing, they are stable now. All of their medical expenses will be covered by Delhi government,” he tweeted.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.