SC to examine constitutional issues into Kejriwal's dharna

SC to examine constitutional issues into Kejriwal's dharna

 The Supreme Court on Friday said it would examine the constitutional issues involved in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s recent sit-in despite a prohibitory order and asked the police how they allowed it to happen for about 36 hours.

A bench of Justices R M Lodha and Shiva Kirti Singh took a strong view of the police failing to stop the agitation led by Kejriwal along with his cabinet colleagues.

The court sought a response from the Union Home Ministry and Delhi government on the issue whether a chief minister could hold agitation in violation of law.

“Is it (agitation) permissible when there is prohibitory order clamped under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code? Why did you let it happen first,” the court asked Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra, representing the police.

“Law enforcement agencies have certain responsibility. They can’t be permitted to allow law breaking,” the bench said.

“People might have breached law but we are more concerned about law enforcement agencies. For those who have breached the law, they would be proceeded against… you tell the reasons (for not acting) or that if the police were taking command from somebody not to act,” the bench asked the government law officer.

The law officer, who urged the court not to entertain a PIL filed by advocate N Rajaraman as its prayer for FIR became infructuous, faced a volley of queries relating to procedure involved in invocation of Section 144 of the CrPC and subsequent actions taken in case of violation of the order.

Instead, the bench asked him to answer as to why despite the prohibitory order, the police permitted five and more people to assemble unlawfully at Rail Bhawan here and if the police acted “appropriately” and with “utmost expedition” in dispersing the “unlawful assembly”.

Luthra tried to explain that a dispersal order was issued to the assembly and 45 minutes time was given to the gathering for the purpose.

Recalling the terror strike in the US in 2001, the court remarked, “the World Trade Centre collapsed in 3 minutes, 45 minutes is too much.”

Kejriwal sat on dharna near Rajpath here on January 20 demanding suspension of some police officers. The agitation which continued for more than a day ended after two police officers were sent on leave. He was demanding action against police officers for not acting at the instance of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti.

The court directed Luthra to respond to its queries on January 31.

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