The Delhi High Court Friday ordered ‘no coercive action’ against two suspended Delhi Police officials who were booked on attempt to murder charges in connection with a clash between lawyers and police at Tis Hazari court complex earlier this month.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the Home Ministry, Delhi Police, Bar Council of India (BCI), Supreme Court Bar Association, Delhi High Court Bar Associations, Bar Council of Delhi and the respective bar associations of all district courts to file replies on the plea of protection from arrest filed by the two personnel.
“Issue notice upon the respondents (total 13 in number). You file your replies within four weeks from today. In the meanwhile, no coercive action shall be taken against these applicants (the two assistant sub-inspectors),” the bench said, listing the matter for further hearing on December 23.
The High Court has already given protection to lawyers from coercive action in connection with FIRs lodged against them.
Following the November 2 clash which erupted over a parking dispute, the High Court had on November 3 taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and ordered a judicial inquiry. It had also ordered action against police personnel involved.
The two ASIs, through their counsel Rajdipa Behura, sought protection against arrest in connection with three FIRs filed against them till “conclusion of the judicial inquiry” into the incident.
“The two have been placed under suspension since November 3 and are currently facing hardship due to the same,” Behura said, adding that the magisterial court’s November 11 order be quashed and the proceedings related to the FIRs be stayed till then.
The Delhi Police is supposed to file a status report in court on its investigation into the clash by November 20.
Behura submitted that there have been meetings to call off the lawyers’ strike, but advocates have sought that the two cops be arrested before they resume work.
“My request is that there should not be any insistence of my (the ASIs’) arrest till pendency of the judicial inquiry,” she said, adding that “this doesn’t reflect nicely on both professions. Litigants are the ones who are suffering because of the strike, which is also not in the interest of the society”.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for the Delhi High Court Bar Associations, opposed the same and contended that there cannot be a parity between protection granted to lawyers against whom FIRs were lodged and the two police officers who allegedly fired gunshots.
“We have been complaining about police inaction. I don’t know how this apprehension of arrest has arisen for these police officers,” Mathur said.
Work to resume
Meanwhile, the Delhi District Bar Coordination Committee has decided to suspend their strike.
The two ASIs’ arrest has been the main demand of all bar associations which had gone on strike.
The decision to suspend the strike came after a meeting between members of the coordination committee took place Friday. “We respect the order of Hon’ble High Court so the abstinence from work is suspended, work to be resumed from Saturday. We thank all the members for cooperation. Our fight for Advocates Protection Act will continue,” said Mahavir Sharma, chairman of the coordination committee.