The Delhi High Court on Friday directed authorities not to take coercive action against two police officers who were booked in connection with the Tis Hazari Court complex clashes earlier this month.
On November 2, a parking dispute between an on-duty policeman and a lawyer triggered the clash between the two sides at the court complex on November 2, leaving over 20 police personnel and several advocates injured.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notices and sought responses from the Centre, Delhi Police, Bar Council of India (BCI) and other bar associations on a plea from the two assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) seeking protection from any coercive actions in the FIRs registered against them till judicial inquiry into the incident is completed.
“Notice issued to the non-applicants. Counsel for respondents seeks time to file replies. Let the same be filed within four weeks from today. Rejoinders thereto, if any, be filed before the next date of hearing. List these applications on December 23. In the meanwhile, no coercive action shall be taken against these applicants in pursuance to the (three) FIRs,” the bench said in its order.
The court was hearing two applications filed by ASIs Kanta Prasad Yadav and Pawan Kumar, suspended after the incident, in which they have also sought quashing of a November 11 order passed by a trial court.
On November 11, an additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) directed the police to file a status report on the investigation into the clash by November 20.
The police officers have also sought a stay on the trial court’s order and the proceedings in the matter till the pendency of a judicial inquiry, which was ordered by the high court on November 3.
Advocate Rajdipa Behura, representing the ASIs, submitted in the court that the lawyers are on strike in all the district courts in Delhi, demanding the arrest of the police officers.
“I have not come here for anticipatory bail. I am only saying that till the time the judicial inquiry is going on, protection from coercive action be given to them (two the police officers),” she said.
She also urged the lawyers to call off the strike, saying the disunity between the advocates and police is harming the institution.
The police officers have alleged in the applications that the ACMM has exceeded his mandate by assuming the charge of monitoring the investigation even though a judicial inquiry, chaired by retired Justice SP Garg, has already been constituted.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, president of Delhi High Court Bar Association, opposed the plea saying when the police are not taking any action against its officials in connection with the clash, where is the apprehension of being arrested.
He said the high court in its November 3 order had kept separate, the judicial inquiry and the investigation into the incident and the police officials cannot say that no probe should be done in these cases till the conclusion of the judicial inquiry.
Lawyers in six district courts have been on strike since November 4 to protest against the clash.
In unprecedented protests by the Delhi Police, thousands of its personnel had laid siege outside its headquarters for 11 hours on November 5 and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues by the lawyers.