The Delhi High Court on Wednesday made scathing observations on the role of the city police during the ongoing communal riots in the national capital. A High Court bench comprising Justices Muralidhar and Talwant Singh was hearing a plea by activist Harsh Mander, who sought an independent inquiry into the instances of violence in North East Delhi. The bench played the provocative speech made by BJP’s Kapil Mishra in the presence of a senior IPS officer in the courtroom before adjourning the matter till 28 February.
The hearing saw plenty of drama as the government lawyer and Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, found the going tough. The High Court Bench was aghast to learn that the Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime branch) Rajesh Deo, who was present inside the courtroom, had not watched the video of Kapil Mishra’s provocative speech.
Deo told the court, “I’ve watched two of them, haven’t watched Kapil Mishra’s video.” This, according to Livelaw website, prompted an angry response from Justice Muralidhar, who said, “‘ This is really concerning. There are so many TVs in your office, how can police officer say that he hasn’t watched the videos. I’m really appalled by the state of affairs of Delhi Police.”
Justice Muralidhar then ordered the controversial clip to be played inside the courtroom. He said, “Let all of you watch it.” SG Tushar Mehta said that he did not watch TV or news before making his submissions. Justice Muralidhar replied, “‘Unfortunately that’s not the privilege that judges have.”
While resuming the matter in the afternoon, Justice Muralidhar said that the bench could not ‘let another 1984 scenario happen in this city; not under the watch if this court.”
The court also directed the Delhi government to ensure sufficient shelter homes for the rehabilitation of displaced victims adding that they shall be provided with adequate amenities, blankets, clean water and sanitation.
Demands for Mishra’s arrest have been growing since it was his speech made in the presence of s senior officer of the Delhi Police that had triggered the largescale riots in the national capital.
The court had appointed advocate Zubeda Begum as Amicus in this case.