Monday, March 20, 2023

Independent prosecutor is as necessary as an independent judge, Rahul Mehra tells Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court heard Delhi Government Senior Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra at length in a plea filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvid Kejriwal challenging the order of the trial court that allowed the then Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash application to appoint public prosecutor in his case.

A single judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru while hearing the petition through video conferencing heard the matter at length and listed the matter for further hearing on December 17.

The trial court had ordered that prosecution in the case be conducted by an officer of the Delhi Police, not below the rank of Additional CP. The trial in the Chief Secretary Assault case is on hold for more than one-and-a-half years.

Rahul Mehra submitted that the Public Prosecutor is the statutory officer of High Regard. Section 114 of the Evidence Act talks about presumption in cases. Mehra added,

“It is not the government who fills up this post, there is a separate cadre, there is Directorate of Prosecution in Delhi with regard to the appointment, transfer etc…it’s the complete authority. There is nothing Government has to do with the appointment etc. the order of the Judicial Magistrate is a complete abuse of law.”

Mehra also argued, “Tilting this case completely towards the complainant. It is incumbent upon Public Prosecutor to not be a mouthpiece of the Government. He is not expected to show thirst to reach the conviction in a particular case. He is not a representative of a political party.”

“There are 10 other cases going on in the same case, where there is no such request to change the Public Prosecutor. It has to be seen, apprehension of bias is completely an illusion, … it is necessary to take into account that whether in the past also prosecutors were fair enough,” Mehra added.

Earlier, during the last hearing, Senior Advocate N. Hariharan appearing for Kejriwal submitted,

“The PP does not run away from the scheme of things. This has to be seen harmoniously. The PP in charge of a case can appear in the case without the authority. Section 302 CRPC defines the Magistrate. His role cannot be discounted.”

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The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on December 17 at 3:30 PM.

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