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Delhi Govt Rejects City Police's Panel Of Lawyers For Cases Related To Farmers Stir

The Delhi government had accused the BJP-ruled Centre of putting pressure on it to replace its prosecutors appearing in cases related to the anti-farm laws stir, with those of the Delhi Police.

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The Delhi Cabinet led by Arvind Kejriwal on Friday rejected the city police's proposal to set up a panel of lawyers for fighting the cases related to the farmers protest against the central farm laws, government sources said on Friday. The decision was taken during the cabinet meeting here.

It was decided that the Delhi government's lawyers will be public prosecutors in court matters related to the farmers' agitation, they said. The cabinet decision will be sent to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal for approval.

On Thursday, the Delhi government had accused the BJP-ruled Centre of putting pressure on it to replace its prosecutors appearing in cases related to the anti-farm laws stir, with those of the Delhi Police. Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal has "rejected" the panel of Delhi government lawyers appearing in the cases against the farmers protesting against the Centre's three new farm laws at the city's borders, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) had said.

Sources privy to the development claimed that the issue pertained to a "request made by the Delhi Police for the appointment of special public prosecutors for the cases related to violence, disrespect of the national flag and blatant disregard of the rule of law on Republic Day during a tractor rally taken out by the protesting farmers in the national capital. "It has nothing to do with the farmers' protest as it is being deliberately made out with ulterior motives," they claimed. 

Meanwhile, the CMO had said on Thursday, "The central government has come out in the open against the accused farmers of the anti-farm laws stir. The LG has stopped the Delhi government lawyers from fighting cases. The Centre is putting pressure on the (Arvind) Kejriwal government for replacing the lawyers of the state with its own to fight the cases against the accused farmers protesting against the farm laws. The city government had formed a panel of lawyers for an "impartial" hearing of the cases against the farmers, it added. 

"The Delhi Police investigating the cases, however, wants the appointment of its own panel of lawyers. Law Minister Satyendar Jain had rejected the Delhi Police proposal but now, the LG has put pressure on the Delhi government to call its cabinet meeting for a decision on the Delhi Police panel," the statement said. It also claimed that the LG, at a virtual meeting with Jain, had "admitted" that the public prosecutors of the Delhi government were doing a "good" job and fighting the cases efficiently.

The Delhi Police had registered over 40 cases in connection with the Republic Day (January 26) violence and vandalism.

(PTI)