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Delhi HC says bureaucrats not officials of L-G, pulls up AAP govt lawyer

The remark by Delhi HC came during a hearing about notification of the new jail manual when the Delhi government lawyer, Rahul Mehra,told the court that the amended jail manual will be notified through the L-G and after intimating him.

delhi Updated: Aug 03, 2018 15:09 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Delhi govt,Delhi HC
A file photo of Delhi high court in New Delhi.(HT File Photo )

Bureaucrats are not the officers of the Lieutenant Governor (L-G), the Delhi High Court remarked on Thursday, when the lawyer appearing for the Delhi government informed the court that notification of the new jail manual is getting delayed since senior bureaucrats are sitting on the files.

A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was hearing an argument made by standing counsel for the Delhi government, Rahul Mehra, who said people of the city are suffering because of these officers. The bench was hearing a PIL that it had itself initiated after several prisoners had written to the high court complaining about the inhuman conditions and lack of medical and employment facilities at Mandoli Jail.

The remark — “officers are not the officers of the L-G” — came after Mehra told the court that the amended jail manual will be notified through the L-G and after intimating him. To this, the bench said, “This is not how a government works. The legislature decides and the executive orders. Please read the law”.

Following this, Mehra alleged, “Secretary of law, home and the chief secretary are sitting on the file. They are behaving as if they are above the minister. The people of Delhi are suffering due to these officers.”

However, this did not go down well with the bench, which came down heavily on Mehra and remarked: “You are making it a political platform.”

Justice C Hari Shankar also expressed his displeasure at the pitch at which Mehra argued. He said: “There is a decorum. This is not the way a counsel of your seniority should argue. We find it really disturbing. Every time this case comes, your pitch is entirely different.”

Following this, Mehra apologised for his conduct, and said certain remarks had hurt him.

On the last date of hearing in the case, advocate Sumer Kumar Sethi, the amicus curiae appointed by the court, had informed the bench about the quantity of food available at the jail. Sethi had suggested that CCTVs should be installed in the kitchen to know the reason behind the lack of food. He also drew the court’s attention to the poor air quality around the jail premises due to burning of tyres and illegal industries.

The court will now hear the matter on September 14.

First Published: Aug 03, 2018 15:08 IST