On 30 July, the Delhi Government (Home Department) appointed 6 Special Public Prosecutors, including Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for cases related to the anti-CAA protests and the North-East Delhi riots that occurred earlier this year. Along with Tushar Mehta, the following advocates were also appointed by the Delhi government: Aman Lekhi (Addl. Solicitor General (ASG)), Chetan Sharma (ASG), S V Raju (ASG), Amit Mahajan, and Rajat Nair.
Delhi Government has issued a notification, appointing the following Law Officers in the Addl. Panel of Special Public Prosecutors in the #DelhiRiotsCases:
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) July 30, 2020
The appointment of the Special Public Prosecutors was done on the orders of the Lieutenant General (LG) of Delhi, Anil Bainjal. This appointment has been a contentious issue between the Delhi Government and the LG of Delhi. The point of controversy arose because Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had appeared before the Delhi High Court, in a petition which sought investigation into the North-East Delhi communal violence, without having been appointed by the Delhi Government.
In the division of power between state and centre, the Delhi Police reports to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, but the appointment of Prosecutors falls under the Delhi Government’s ambit.
The Standing Counsel for the Delhi Government, Rahul Mehra, had raised objection to the Solicitor General’s appearance in the Delhi riots case. He stated that the LG can appoint Prosecutors only on the consultation and advise of the Delhi Government. The LG then passed an order appointing Tushar Mehta to appear for the Delhi Police in the PIL filed by Harsh Mander (who had sought FIRs to be filed against BJP leaders for hate speech). It is relevant to note that many significant questions have been raised on the credibility of police action during the North-East Delhi communal violence.
Although the Delhi Government had objected to not being consulted on the process of appointing Prosecutors, they have not objected to Tushar Mehta being appointed as one in the North-East Delhi violence case (Aqil Hussain v. NCT of Delhi). This seems to be a formal disagreement rather than a substantial one.
First reported by Live Law.