New Delhi: Delhi Police Monday objected to certain statements made in the Delhi High Court plea related to the violence during Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act last December, saying they are more of a political statement made at a protest site.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Delhi Police, took strong exception to the language used in certain paragraphs of the rejoinder filed by one of the petitioners in the matter and said you cannot malign constitutional authorities like this.
The irresponsible pleading is becoming an order of the day… This is more of a political statement made at a protest site and cannot be a pleading before the highest court of the state, the senior law officer said, referring to the averments made in the rejoinder.
Mehta contended that irresponsible pleadings have been filed in the rejoinder of one of the petitioners Nabila Hasan who has sought action against the police for allegedly brutally attacking the petitioners, students and residents of JMI.
Hasan’s plea has also sought action against the alleged ruthless, and excessive use of force and aggression unleashed by the police and paramilitary forces on students within the university.
Mehta was referring to the statement made in the rejoinder which said: The police were utterly lawless obviously with clearance from the to. It is very probable that the order to mercilessly beat the students and break their bones as they began to assemble outside Jamia to begin a peaceful march to the Parliament came from the Home Minister.
The rejoinder also stated The police force behaved as if they were common criminals. Their conduct was such that it would appear to the common person that the police force had been given instruction from the home Minister to break the law at will and to cause as much pain and damage and loss to the public as possible.
Raising objection to these statements, the Solicitor General said broadly everyone knows the intention behind filing of a petition but it should not be made so obvious in the pleadings.
It is an example of irresponsible pleading. The intention comes out clear. You cannot malign the constitutional authorities like this. This brings the cat out of the bag. I have been saying this since the beginning that there is an agenda behind these petitions which are being pursued so vigorously, he contended.
After noting the objections, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, conducting the hearing through video conferencing, asked senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Hasan, as to why he was making such allegations against the Home Minister and asked him to decide if he can remove them.
To this, Gonsalves submitted that he will delete the particular lines immediately not because he thinks he was wrong but because he does not think that these statements are worth the court’s time or his time.
He will file the rejoinder again after deleting the particular lines pointed out by Mehta.
During the hearing, the court asked the petitioners to form a list of issues to be decided in the petitions and the Solicitor General will respond to it.
At the end of the hearing, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, representing one of the petitioners, on a lighter vein said the Solicitor General has a huge collection of Urdu gazals by heart and he should respond to the issues with an Urdu couplet.
To this, Mehta responded with a Mirza Ghalib couplet, kaasid ke aate aate khat ek aur likh du, main janta hu kya wo likhege jawab me (Let me write one more letter, before the messenger comes, I know what he/ she is going to write in answer).
He further said, like Ghalib, I will also keep my issues ready for consideration since I know what your issues are going to be.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 13.
Opposing a batch of six PILs seeking setting up of a judicial commission to look into the violence, the police have said the claim of police brutality is utter falsehood.
The police have filed the affidavit in response to various petitions, moved by lawyers, students of JMI, residents of Okhla in south Delhi, where the university is located and the Imam of Jama Masjid mosque opposite Parliament House, in which they had also sought medical treatment, compensation and interim protection from arrest for the students.
The pleas have also sought registration of FIRs against the erring police officers.
Delhi Police, in its affidavit filed through advocates Amit Mahajan and Rajat Nair in response to the petitions, has sought dismissal of pleas seeking quashing of FIRs and directions against alleged police brutality in the university during the anti-CAA protests.
It said the petitions were an utter abuse of PIL jurisdiction as the incidents of violence in and around the campus were well-planned and orchestrated attempts by some persons with local support.
The affidavit filed by Rajesh Deo, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, said exercising the fundamental right to dissent should be respected, but no person can be allowed to commit a breach of the law, indulge in violence, arson and riotous activity causing danger to life, limb and property of innocent citizens under the garb of exercise of the fundamental right of free speech and assembly.
Such fundamental rights are not absolute and are liable to reasonable restrictions under the Constitution, it has said.