HC notes petitioners agree to strike down allegation against HM

New Delhi: While hearing a group of petitions seeking directions for an independent probe into the alleged police brutality in Jamia Millia Islamia in December last year amid the anti-CAA protests, the Delhi High Court on Monday noted in its order that the petitioners were willing to expunge allegations against Home Minister Amit Shah from their rejoinder, after Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta had earlier said these allegations were "irresponsible statements" and should not be allowed by the court.

During the hearing before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, S-G Tushar Mehta represented the Delhi Police and said allegations that the Home Minister had ordered for police to use brutal force against students were "irresponsible pleadings and not backed by substantive evidence". Mehta said, "You cannot malign a constitutional functionary like this", adding that the court should act against such pleadings seriously. However, the court remarked, "The issue of irresponsible pleadings is not of relevance at this stage."

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. To this, Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, 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. The court has listed the matter next for 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.

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)."

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