VK Saxena has dissolved the standing committee constituted by the AAP government. (File)
Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena has dissolved the standing committee constituted by the AAP government with a putative view to ensure the quality of investigation in criminal cases and their prosecution, saying it was in "gross violation" of the 2014 Supreme Court directions, according to a Raj Niwas order.
"Delhi LG VK Saxena has dissolved the existing Standing Committee constituted by the AAP Government for ensuring the quality of investigation in criminal cases and their prosecution, noting that it was in gross violation of the 2014 Supreme Court directions and subsequent guidelines of the Centre," an official from the LG office said in a note shared with media on Monday.
While scrapping the existing Standing Committee headed by Standing Counsel (Criminal), Delhi High Court, and Additional Standing Counsel as a member, VK Saxena approved the proposal for its reconstitution with an Additional Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary (Home) as chairman and Principal Secretary (Law), Director (Prosecution) and Special Commissioner of Police, as members.
There was no immediate reaction from the Delhi government on the committee's scrapping.
VK Saxena noted that there was no reason or justification for the continuation of the existing committee and even his predecessor had time and again objected to it, the official said.
He said that in his note on May 11, 2017, his predecessor, Anil Baijal, had directed a review of the constitution of the committee to bring it in conformity with the order of the Supreme court and reminders were also issued by the LG Secretariat on February 19, 2018, June 22, 2018, October 18, 2018, and May 31, 2019.
However, no proposal for the reconstitution of the committee was submitted, the person said.
After the enactment of the GNCTD Amendment Act 2023, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) proposed the reconstitution of the standing committee with an Additional Chief Secretary (Home) as Chairman, Principal Secretary (Law), Director (Directorate of Prosecution) and Special CP as members.
The Supreme Court had in 2014 directed the Home departments of every state to constitute a standing committee with senior officers of police and prosecution departments, vesting them with the responsibility of examining all orders of acquittal and recording reasons for the failure of prosecution in each case.
"It was noted by the LG that the existing committee is headed by Standing Counsel (Criminal) with Additional Standing Counsel as Member, who are part of prosecution and entrusted with the presentation of cases before the court.
"Therefore, their role in such cases also comes under the purview of the Committee and inclusion of these officers in the Standing Committee should be viewed as an attempt to dilute the directions/guidelines issued by the Supreme Court/Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India," the official said in the statement.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had in 2014 issued an advisory on the monitoring of investigations to ensure that the investigating officers, as well as prosecuting officers, discharge their duties.
The standing committee was initially constituted by the Home Department with the Director of Prosecution as its chairman.
"However, the standing committee was reconstituted with the approval of Delhi Home Minister with Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) as Chairman in violation of rules," the official claimed.
The proposal for reconstituting the committee was also not placed before the then LG for his opinion as "Services" and "Police" were outside the purview of the AAP government at that point, he added.
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