NEW DELHI: In a move that could trigger another confrontation with the Centre, the AAP government on Friday rejected Delhi Police’s proposal to set up a panel of public prosecutors to fight cases related to farmers’ agitation.
At a virtual press conference on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the matter comes under the Delhi government’s purview. Also, appointing lawyers suggested by the Delhi Police, which is investigating these cases, will be against the principles of “fairness and impartiality”, he argued.
The Centre has been interfering with the work of the Delhi government through the Lieutenant Governor, Sisodia claimed, terming it “murder of democracy”. Asking the L-G to stop misusing the veto power granted to him, Sisodia said, “The Supreme Court has defined the use of this veto power by the L-G on transferred subjects. Doorstep delivery of ration and court matters related to farmers’ protests are not the rarest of rare cases. This power cannot be used left, right and centre every day. This is a murder of democracy and violation of the Supreme Court’s orders.”
For the past few days, the government and the L-G have been engaged in a tussle over the issue of appointment of lawyers, with the files doing back and forth between Delhi’s law minister and L-G Anil Baijal. At a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, was decided that Delhi Police’s proposal to appoint lawyers of their choice in the case was “baseless and unwarranted” and could not be allowed.
“There was a consensus that letting Delhi Police’s lawyers appear in the case of the farmers who have been protesting against the three farm laws would seriously hamper legal parity and would not be fair to the accused farmers who bear a right to go through an unbiased trial,” the government said in a statement.
Kejriwal later tweeted, “It is the duty of every Indian to support the farmers of the country. We have not done any favour, we have fulfilled our duty towards the farmers…Farmers are not criminals, not terrorists.
They are our ‘annadata’.”This is the second time in two years when selection of a panel of lawyers has been a bone of contention between the Centre and Delhi. Earlier, L-G Baijal had rejected the Delhi government’s list of public prosecutors in the northeast Delhi riots cases, and the latter asked the L-G to reconsider.
Farmers issue ‘whip’ to Oppn
New Delhi: Protesting farmers on Friday issued a “Voters’ Whip” to Opposition MPs through a letter, asking them to be present in parliament on all days of the Monsoon Session and let no business transact till “the Union Government accedes to the farmers’ demands on the floor of the Houses”. The letter will be handed to the MPs on Saturday as a precursor to the farmers’ protest starting July 22, the SKM said. The farmers’ body planned that around 200 farmers will hold protests every day during the Monsoon Session. It also announced on Friday to issue I-cards to the farmers.