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AAP’s Bharti breathes easy after HC relief

“I have not expected such treatment from NHRC. I was awarded punishment without being a hearing which is violation of rules of natural justice and basic jurisprudence,” said Somnath Bharti to media persons after the verdict. Flanked by his party colleagues Ashutosh and Yogender Yadav, Bharti said, “My stand has been vindicated.”

The infamous Khirki extension dates back to November last year when Bharti with the help of his local supporters went to raid alleged sex and drug racket being run in Khirki village in his assembly constituency Malviya Nagar, allegedly with connivance of local police. 

In a high voltage mid night drama the local police officers refused to follow the orders of Bharti which were reportedly not in accordance with the guidelines of the Supreme Court. He said that he had sought a compensation of Rs 100 crore from the Centre, NHRC and the city government.

“There was a political conspiracy to malign me and my party. We will argue the case before the NHRC and put forth the facts...many facts have been suppressed,” said Bharti. He further added that the order of NHRC was a violation of section 16 of The Protection of Human Rights Act which makes it mandatory for the commission to hear the version of the accused before passing any order.  

A vacation bench of justices S Muralidhar and Manmohan, while setting aside the September 29 ruling of the National Human Rights Commission, also directed it to hear the matter afresh and pass a detailed order by taking into account the evidence lead by Bharti in his defence. 

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and central government standing counsel Jasmeet Singh appeared for the Union of India in the matter.

Bharti in his appeal, filed through advocate Deepak Khosla, had contended that the single judge had dismissed his plea as “premature” without “allowing fair opportunity to explain the facts of the situation before the NHRC and the legal grounds on which the writ petition was eminently maintainable”. Bharti’s petition had also said that NHRC had prematurely directed the Delhi government to pay Rs 25,000 compensation each to the 12 women, who had allegedly suffered racial abuse, illegal detention, intimidation, abuse, assault and indignity by the AAP leader. While his petition was pending in the High Court, the NHRC had on December 22 accepted Bharti’s request for hearing on the controversial midnight raid in January next year and also directed Delhi government to defer payment of monetary relief of Rs 25,000 to the victims, recommended by it on September 29, for a period of two months. 

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