Delhi anti-graft panel has right to arrest cops: HCDelhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks at AAP govt's Jan Samwad in New Delhi on Monday. ANI

Delhi anti-graft panel has right to arrest cops: HC

Huge embarrassment for Centre, says Kejriwal25 May 2015 | 9:28 PM

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has the jurisdiction to arrest policemen, the Delhi High Court held today while dismissing bail application of a head constable who was arrested by the ACB in a corruption case.

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New Delhi, May 25

The Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) has the jurisdiction to arrest policemen, the Delhi High Court held today while dismissing bail application of a head constable who was arrested by the ACB in a corruption case.

A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi disallowed Anil Kumar’s bail application, saying his submission that the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Government of National Capital Territory Delhi (GNCTD) does not have the competence or jurisdiction to act on the complaint of the complainant is rejected.

“Since the applicant is a Delhi Police personnel serving the citizens in the NCTD and the functions of the Delhi Police personnel substantially and essentially relate to the affairs of the GNCTD, in my view, the ACB of the GNCTD has the jurisdiction to entertain and act on a complaint under the PC Act in respect of a Delhi Police officer or official, and to investigate and prosecute the crime,” the judge said.

The High Court noted that Lieutenant Governor of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) is bound to act upon the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers who are directly elected by the citizens of Delhi and the Centre’s “executive fiat” siding with him is “suspect”.

It observed that mandate of the people “must” be respected by the Lt Governor of GNCTD if there was no other “constitutional or legal fetter”.

The findings were part of the judgment in which the high court held that the ACB of the NCT government has the jurisdiction to arrest policemen.

The head constable was arrested on May 2 from Sonia Vihar police station in Northeast Delhi by the ACB. On May 14, the high court had pulled up the Delhi Police for questioning the jurisdiction of the ACB in arresting Kumar.

He was arrested after a scrap dealer filed a complaint on the anti-corruption helpline 1033 that Kumar had been demanding Rs 20,000 as bribe and threatening to implicate him in false cases.

Meanwhile, buoyed by the high court judgment over jurisdiction of Delhi government’s anti-graft body, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said the verdict was a “huge embarrassment” for the Modi dispensation and has strengthened his government’s fight against corruption.

At an event to mark 100 days of his government, Kejriwal said the high court’s order clarifying that the Home Ministry has no rights to interfere in the matters of ACB was a major victory for people of the city.

In a statement, the AAP government termed the high court verdict in “restoring the powers of the Anti-Corruption Branch” a “decisive victory” for the people of the city.

“I want to congratulate and apprise you of a major high court judgment. Forty years ago, the Anti-Corruption Bureau had come up in Delhi. Forty years ago, its jurisdiction was over officials of all agencies based in Delhi, be it of the Union government, DDA, police, MCD, the ACB could probe instances of corruption of all these bodies,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the powers of the ACB were taken away last year by the NDA government after it filed a case against a leading industrialist.

“Last year, when our 49-day government was formed, we had filed a case against a big person of this country, Mukesh Ambani. After our government quit, the Centre issued an order restricting the ACB to Delhi government officials only.

“It said the ACB won’t look after the corruption of Union government officials, police and NDMC. Today Delhi HC ordered that the Centre and MHA have no rights to interfere in the matters of ACB,” he said addressing the “Open Cabinet” at the Central Park in Connaught Place.

Kejriwal said the court’s order has strengthened the resolve of his government in its ongoing fight against graft.

“We have got strengthened by this. All of them are after us. You must have been observing. But when you are on the path of truth, all the good forces of the universe help you. When the God is with you then there is no need to worry who is against you. Whoever is against will get destroyed gradually,” he said.

The Delhi Police function under the direct administrative control of the Home Ministry. Its notification had barred the ACB from taking action against the Delhi Police and any officers of the Central government.

The high court’s order came amid a bitter tussle between the AAP government and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung over posting and transfers of senior officials as well as some other contentious issues.

The AAP government has called an “emergency” session of the Delhi Assembly beginning tomorrow to discuss the notification.

It has also indicated taking legal recourse on the issue.

The gazette notification dated May 21 by the Home Ministry had said the LG will have jurisdictions over matters connected with services, public order, police and land and he may consult with the Chief Minister whenever he thinks necessary on issues of services using his own “discretion”.

The appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary by the LG last week had triggered a full-blown war between the ruling AAP and Jung, with Kejriwal questioning the LG’s authority and accusing him of trying to take over the administration. — PTI

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