Delhi violence: SC rebukes police, refuses to entertain pleas on violence

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 26

As violence over the Citizenship Amendment Act continues in northeast Delhi, the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the Delhi Police for lack of professionalism and failing to take timely action against those making inflammatory remarks.

“The real problem is lack of professionalisation of the police and lack of independence. If the police act completely in accordance with the law, many of these problems will not arise,” a Bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice KM Joseph said, even as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tried to defend the handling of the violence by the Delhi Police.

Justice Joseph cited the example of the police in the UK for their swift handling of such situations, saying “no permission is required to act upon.”

Mehta said if the Delhi Police acted like the police in the UK, the court will first intervene.

As the judges raised questions over the poor handling of the situation, Mehta said the Bench should not make such comments.

“In this environment, you should not make such remarks… let’s not demoralise the police”, he said.

“Many unfortunate things have happened ... environment is not conducive to hear the matter. Equanimity requires to be maintained,” the Bench said, adjourning the hearing to March 23.

“It is time for all parties and stakeholders to lower their temperatures,” it said.

As Mehta tried to persuade the Bench not to make such comments, the Bench said, “Certain things have happened. Who can say what has happened is not unfortunate.”

“We don’t know under what circumstances the police are functioning. A DCP was (almost) lynched.”

“These happens because when you let people go away. Let’s stick to law and guidelines. If someone breaks the law, they can spring into action,” Justice Joseph said.

“Let the police act and let things come under control. This is not right time to indulge...We haven’t said anything adverse. We only expressed anguish over what happened, said Justice Kaul.

During the hearing, the Bench advised the Delhi Police to follow the guidelines issued by it Prakash Singh’s case in 2006.

Earlier, at the outset it refused to entertain applications by Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad, former CIC Wajahat Habibullah and one Bahadur Abbas Naqvi seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into violence in Delhi over CAA, saying the Delhi High Court was already looking into it.

“What has happened in Delhi is unfortunate. But the Delhi High Court is already seized of petitions on the matter,” it said.

Communal violence over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in northeast Delhi has killed at least 20 people, including a police constable, and left over 150 people injured till Wednesday.

The Bench is seized of two other petitions seeking removal of protestors from Shaheen Bagh, where anti-CAA protesters have been blocking a road connecting South Delhi to Noida for over two months.

On Monday, court-appointed interlocutors – senior counsel Sanjay Hegde and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran—had filed their report in a sealed cover to the Bench after holding talks with protestors at Shaheen Bagh.

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