LG dissolves panel constituted by Delhi Govt on probe into criminal cases

lg dissolves panel constituted by delhi govt on probe into criminal cases

LG dissolves panel constituted by Delhi Govt on probe into criminal cases

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has dissolved the standing committee constituted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government for ensuring quality of investigation in criminal cases and their prosecution, noting that it was in gross violation of the 2014 Supreme Court (SC) directions and subsequent guidelines of the Centre.

While scrapping the existing panel headed by standing counsel (criminal), Delhi High Court (HC) and additional standing counsel as member, the LG approved the proposal for its reconstitution with additional chief secretary/principal secretary (Home) as chairman and principal secretary (Law), director (prosecution) and special commissioner of police, as members, as per a communiqué issued by his office.

Saxena noted that there was no justification for continuation of the committee and even his predecessor had time and again objected to it vide his note dated May 11,2017 and directed to review the constitution of the above panel to bring it in conformity with the order of apex court.

He said reminders were issued by the LG Secretariat on February 19, June 22 and October 18 in 2018, and May 31 last year. However, no proposal for reconstitution of the said committee was submitted.

“The lackadaisical approach of the ruling dispensation in this case seems to be an attempt to control the service matters of Police and Prosecution Officers, which is not in their executive domain and it is a settled principle of law that the thing which cannot be done directly, shall not be done indirectly in a clandestine manner,” Saxena was quoted as saying by his office.

It was noted by the LG that the existing panel is headed by the Standing Counsel (Criminal) with additional standing counsel as member, who are part of prosecution and entrusted with the presentation of cases before the court and “therefore, their role in such cases also comes under purview of the Committee and inclusion of these officers in the panel should be viewed as an attempt to dilute the directions/guidelines issued by the Supreme Court/Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India”, it said.

In compliance with the SC directions of January 7, 2014 with a view to reduce the number of acquittals in the criminal cases the MHA on March  24, 2014 had issued an advisory on monitoring of investigation to ensure Investigating Officers as well as Prosecuting Officers discharge their duties, the statement said.

One of the main advices of the Ministry was that Home Department shall constitute a standing committee of senior officers of the police and prosecution directorate to analyse the case and ascertain the mistakes committed during investigation and/or prosecution, or both, it said.

The findings of the committee shall be forwarded to the commissioner of police and director of prosecution for taking departmental action as per the rules against all investigation/ prosecuting officials identified responsible for failure of prosecution on account of sheer negligence or because of culpable lapses, it added.

Pursuant to the above advisory, initially a standing committee was constituted by the Home Department, with director of prosecution as chairman. However, in complete disregard to the Apex court directions and the Centre’s advisory, vide order dated October 15,2015, the above panel was reconstituted with the approval of the minister (Home) with senior standing counsel (Criminal) as chairman, the communiqué said.

The proposal for reconstitution of the panel was also not placed before the then LG for his opinion as “services” and “police” were outside the purview of AAP  Government at that point of time, it said.

After the enactment of the GNCTD Amendment Act 2023, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) proposed that the above panel be reconstituted with additional chief secretary (Home) as chairman, principal secretary (Law), director (Directorate of Prosecution) and special CP as members as the “existing panel” is not in conformity with the directions of SC as well as advisory issued by the MHA.

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