Kejriwal’s role under scanner, SC slams cops handling protest

Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI): Arvind Kejriwal’s role in leading a protest while holding constitutional office today came under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court which slammed law enforcing agencies of allowing unlawful assembly of supporters of the Chief Minister in the heart of national capital.

The apex court disapproved the Delhi Police inaction in permitting people to gather outside the Rail Bhavan despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure barring assembly of five and more persons being in force.

“How did they (people) assemble when prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC was clamped. Why did you let it happen in the first place when the mob is already there,” a bench comprising justices R M Lodha and Shiva Kirti Singh asked Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi.

“Why did police at all permit people to gather when it will amount to breach of prohibitory orders. What we are inclined to know is whether police acted,” the bench said while adding that “by allowing five people it swelled into 500 and thereafter into thousands”.

Observing that “the task in hand is to see that the constitutional provisions are respected,” the bench sought explanation by January 31 from the Police Commissioner why people were allowed to gather unlawfully at the site of dharna by Kejriwal.

AAP party was demanding action against policemen who refused to carry out a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution ring on a Delhi minister Somnath Bharti’s directive last week.

“We want information on two queries as to why despite the prohibitory order under section 144 of CrPC the law enforcing agencies/police permit five and more persons unlawfully.

“Second whether law enforcing agencies/police acted appropriately and with utmost expedition in dispersing the unlawful assembly by force under section 129 (2) of CrPC after such assembly was informed under section 129 (1) of CrPC to disperse and despite such command the assembly did not disperse,” the bench said in its order.

The bench, which was hearing the PIL filed by advocate M L Sharma, issued notice to the Centre through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi Government and sought their response within sex weeks on the issue whether constitutional post holder can resort to agitation in violation of law.


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