Arvind Kejriwal’s role in dharna comes under scanner, Supreme Court criticises cops

Jan 25 2014, 15:41 IST
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SummarySupreme Court sought a reply from both the Centre and Delhi govt on Kejriwal’s 33-hour-long dharna.

Slamming the law enforcement agencies of allowing unlawful assembly, the Supreme Court on Friday sought a reply from both the Centre and the Delhi government on chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s 33-hour-long dharna in the heart of the national capital early this week.

A bench headed by Justice RM Lodha, while seeking reply from the Centre and the Delhi government, observed that the issue of whether the chief minister of a state along with his Cabinet colleagues can hold a dharna on the streets in support of his demand raised an important constitutional issue.

“Every institution (including the office of chief minister) is a product of the Constitution, which is supreme. Every person who holds constitutional office is governed by the Constitution. We will examine the issue,” the bench said after advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, one of the PIL petitioners, questioned whether the “law makers could themselves become law breakers.”

The apex court also criticised the Delhi Police’s inaction in permitting people to gather outside the Rail Bhavan despite prohibitory orders under section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure barring assembly of five and more persons being in force.

“How did they (people) assemble when prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC were clamped. Why did you let it happen in the first place when the mob is already there?” the apex court said. Observing that “the task in hand is to see that the constitutional provisions are respected,” the bench sought explanation by January 31 from the Police Commissioner why people were allowed to gather unlawfully at the site of the dharna by Kejriwal.

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