The Centre and the AAP government are slugging it out in the Supreme Court over who controls the Delhi Police.
Last week, Delhi government’s standing counsel Rahul Mehra took strong objection to a central government appearing for the police in a custodial death matter. The assertion was strongly contested by additional solicitor general Maninder Singh who said Delhi Police was under the Centre’s jurisdiction.
The heated discussion between the two before a bench headed by justice JS Kehar ended only after the judge’s intervention. “Fight where you want to fight. But here we will talk about law,” the judge told them. The judge asked Singh to provide a copy of Delhi Police’s appeal to Mehra who said he wants to get the matter probed as to how was the appeal filed without the state’s approval.
Mehra interjected as soon as Singh got up to defend Delhi Police’s role in the case where the Delhi high court last month ordered the CBI to take over the probe and asked it to record statement of two witnesses before a magistrate. He said the HC order was dictated after the Delhi government counsel, appearing for the police there, conceded to the CBI probe.
Ever since AAP came to power in Delhi a year ago, it has been at loggerheads with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre over a host of issues, including the control of Delhi Police and transfer and posting of bureaucrats. This has led to several court cases many of which still remain undecided.
In the incident that was reported from Nandi Nagri in North-East Delhi the HC had also directed the lieutenant governor and Delhi government to determine the compensation to be given to Rabia whose husband allegedly died in police custody. The Delhi Police had constituted the SIT headed by an ACP of the Crime Branch and monitored by the DCP, after Rabia moved the HC accusing the police of harassing her husband who died on September 7.
Mehra claimed police can file appeals only after getting appropriate permission from the Ministry of Law and alleged in the case at hand there was no approval. The appeal has no ground in view of AAP government’s stand against the police before the HC, he said. The state had prosecution powers, he reiterated.
Singh shot back saying Delhi Police was not under the state ’s jurisdiction. “The police department is not with you,” he said.