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High Court defers hearing in Ishrat Jahan case

New Delhi: As the controversy over legal representation of Delhi Police in cases related to the North-East Delhi riots continued on Tuesday, the Delhi High Court deferred the hearing in a plea filed by former Congress municipal councillor Ishrat Jahan against the extension granted to probe the UAPA case against her in one of the riots cases as it allowed Rahul Mehra, Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) to file a status report in the case.

On June 24, the high court had asked the police to respond to Jahan's plea challenging the trial court's June 15 order granting a 60-day extension to the police to complete its investigation against her and activist Khalid Saifi. However, Mehra had strongly objected to the status report being filed by advocate Amit Mahajan, who said he had been appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to represent the Delhi Police in the case.

Mehra said he has been appointed as the standing counsel by the full court of Delhi High Court and every status report or document filed on behalf of the prosecution has to be routed through his office.

He said this status report filed in Jahan's case should have been routed through his office, which was not done. Objecting to this, Mahajan said there is no procedure in law or any Act that the status report has to be routed through the office of standing counsel (criminal).

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, who was hearing the matter through video conferencing, said since a legal issue has arisen in this case, I hereby direct Rahul Mehra, Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) to file a status report or written arguments and the investigating officer of the case is directed to brief the office of the standing counsel regarding the matter. The status report shall be filed within four days.

The high court clarified that it was not making any observation or comments on whether Mahajan, who was appointed by the LG, is legally authorised to file the status report or not.

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