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Court decision brings lawyers, police to a truce

The Delhi High Court has granted relief to the two police officers accused of assaulting lawyers at the Tis Hazari Court complex. The court, while hearing the case, ordered on Friday that no punitive action be taken against the two cops until the judicial inquiry into the case is completed. Now they will not be arrested.

Meanwhile, the lawyers have announced an end to the ongoing strike in the district courts of Delhi.

After the lawyer-police clash on 2 November following the police’s objection to lawyers parking their vehicles near lock-up vans, the lawyers had gone on strike on 4 November.

With today’s decision of the court and the announcement by the lawyers that they are returning to work, it is believed that this dispute has now ended.

Twenty policemen and several lawyers were injured in a violent clash at Tis Hazari Court on 2 November.

Hearing the case, Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Harishankar of the high court have issued notices to the Union government, Delhi Police, Bar Council of India and other bar associations, seeking their response. The court has asked all the parties to file replies on the petitions of both the assistant sub-inspectors accused in the case.

While hearing the petitions of ASI Kanta Prasad Yadav and Pawan Kumar, the court said, “No punitive action should be taken against the three FIRs lodged against the two officers till the investigation is completed.” The two officers had been suspended after the violent clash incident.

Advocate Rajdipa Behura, appearing for the two policemen, said in court, “I have not come here for anticipatory bail. All I have to say is that punitive action should not be taken against the policemen till the time the matter is under investigation.”

Further, Behura requested the lawyers to end the strike and return to work. He said that the institution is suffering due to the end of unity between the two.

The lawyers are calling it truce on the 11th day with the end to the strike. After the off days Saturday and Sunday, all the six district courts of the capital will be functioning smoothly on Monday.

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India

Monika Bhardwaj pleaded as lawyers pounced on her: Video

A new video has surfaced of a clash between lawyers and police at the Tis Hazari Court Complex. In this video, DCP North Monika Bhardwaj is seen pleading with the lawyers to calm down, but the herd of lawyers swarms all over and then pounces on her. Hundreds of lawyers appear to be pushing DCP North Monika Bhardwaj and her security personnel backwards.

A video of the violence on 2 November surfaced yesterday, in which police officer Monika Bhardwaj is seen protecting some policemen from lawyers.

The DCP has alleged that she was assaulted during the violence. Not only this, the woman officer said that in the meantime, her service revolver was snatched and it has been missing since then. The allegation appears to have come as a second thought to her as, until 7 November, she was reported to be not in the frame of mind to pursue the case. Monika Bhardwaj was, in fact, being counselled by her colleagues not to take the matter to the court. Consider yesterday’s report:

Police spokesperson Anil Mittal has said that the statement of Monika Bhardwaj will be added to the FIR being prepared in the incident.

Taking note of the video showing the scuffle with DCP North Monica Bhardwaj surfaced, Chairperson of Women’s Commission Rekha Sharma said, “I condemn it. I am taking suo motu cognizance of this matter and will write to the police commissioner of Delhi and the Bar Council.”

Last Saturday, a dispute broke out between lawyers and policemen in the premises of Tis Hazari Court over the parking of some lawyers’ cars near the lock-up vans outside the court. Both the groups turned violent in turns on seeing it.

Around 21 policemen were injured in the violence between the lawyers and the police whereas the Delhi High Court in its wisdom took the decision to punish a few cops — two were suspended — based on prima facie evidence while holding no lawyer responsible until an inquiry into the matter was completed.

Some lawyers were hurt in the melee, too. A lawyer, who the police shot at, had to be hospitalised.

Hundreds of policemen staged a protest the next day outside the police headquarters and demanded action against their seniors for failing to protect them.

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Police, lawyers must share the blame, videos suggest

At Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court, the lawyer-police discord saw no reconciliation on Thursday, with no cop seen outside the premises, probably choosing a form of protest less visible than the one demonstrated outside the Delhi Police headquarters on 5 November. Some of the lawyers present there tried to play the role of security personnel of the court. Mercifully, commoners availed of the court services without any untoward incident even as the security apparatus replete with metal detectors and X-ray machines lay idle at the court compound.

Meanwhile, the strike of lawyers continued even today. Lawyers started mobilising at the Saket Court since morning. They are still demanding more action against the police.

The ruckus that broke out between the two sets of professionals on 2 November has rendered the atmosphere outside courts tensed, but advocates are seen welcoming the people coming to the court.

The lawyers of Delhi approached the Supreme Court and demanded a ban on the media from reporting on the clashes between the lawyers and the police. Lawyers say that the media is defaming them. The Supreme Court refused to hear the issue, though.

The Supreme Court refused to hear the petition soon. The court said that there would be no restriction on media reporting in the Tis Hazari Court case. The apex court asked the lawyers to file an application at the Delhi High Court.

In Ghaziabad yesterday, people demonstrated in support of the policemen and carried out a candle march while in Yamuna Vihar area of ​​Bhajanpura, the local people took out a march in support of the police. Hundreds of people participated in it. The activists described the police as innocent in the lawyer-versus-police standoff.

Video: Large police force approaches lawyers menacingly

A few lawyers can be seen fleeing the scene

The video above was posted by Facebook user Vivek V. Kannankeri on 2 November [Caution: Foul language, audience discretion advised].

Edited CCTV footage and the whole picture

On Saturday, when the violence between lawyers and policemen took place at Tis Hazari Court in Delhi, the lawyers allegedly assaulted a woman police officer in uniform there. Her loaded gun went missing that day.

In the CCTV footage that surfaced today, the policemen, on the day of the incident purportedly, can be seen trying to avert crowding near the police vans. The footage shows them asking a lawyer to move his car that was just parked behind a police van in front of the lock-ups. This is the extent of the incident most people have seen on social media today.

But this is not the whole picture. The blame must be shared by both parties to the dispute.

Sirf News is producing the video that shows policemen dragging the lawyer by his collar, which even television channels did not show.

Another CCTV clipping then shows some men in black coats and trousers trying to set on fire the vehicles outside the room in which policemen locked themselves. This is what some television channels have shown:

Four days since the clash, Delhi Police has still not filed any complaint in the case of its female officer, whom lawyers allegedly manhandled outside Tis Hazari Court. The woman IPS officer says that her loaded 9 mm service pistol had been missing since Saturday. But Delhi Police has so far refused to register an FIR for this.

A senior official said that the woman officer told her colleagues that making a formal complaint would not lead to any favourable outcome for the police and that “she would prove herself a fool”.

Officially, the police claim that they cannot take any action without a formal complaint. Unless it’s a case of sexual harassment, the police do not have the right to take action on its own, they said. “There is a lot of pressure on the police to speed up investigations and suppress sensitive issues,” said an official. So the senior officials who were told about both these incidents are also silent on this. In fact, the woman officer is being urged not to pursue her case, a source told Sirf News.

According to reports across the media, on Saturday, a policeman had asked three lawyers to remove a “wrongly parked” car, after which the dispute arose. In the violence that broke out thereafter, 30 people were injured.

The footage of several CCTV cameras, in which lawyers are seen attacking policemen and trying to set bikes on fire, were seen on social mediums like Facebook and Twitter. There is one video where policemen are seen pouring water on their car and extinguishing the fire.

A crowd of lawyers is seen in another video demanding that the police constable who prevented their colleagues from parking the car be handed over to them. “They (the lawyers) were so angry that the constable was asked to change his uniform and wear plain clothes,” an officer present at the spot recalled. To avoid the angry lawyers apparently, the police personnel that were seen in the first video asking a lawyer to move his car are seen in plain clothes sitting with some of the accused they had brought to the court.

A couple of videos on social media follows.

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India

Police demonstrate in Delhi streets, demand commissioner like Kiran Bedi

The national capital is witnessing today a commotion of policemen who have chosen to ignore the appeal of Commissioner Amulya Patnaik issued from the Delhi Police Headquarters. After hours of demonstrations by the cops, Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik appeared in the afternoon and appealed to the policemen to return to work, but they instead raised slogans naming India’s first woman IPS officer and current Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi: “Police commissioner kaisa ho? Kiran Bedi jaisa ho! (How should a commissioner of police be? Like Kiran Bedi)”

Patnaik said without mentioning the Tis Hazari Court, “In the last few days, there have been certain incidents in the capital which we handled very well. The situation is improving after that.”

On hearing this, the policemen raised their voices, sloganeering all the time. The police commissioner had to stop his address for a few seconds. The policemen said that they wanted a strong officer like Kiran Bedi, “who can understand and articulate our issues better” to lead them.

Patnaik said, “I appeal to all to maintain peace. It’s a trying time for us. We need to fulfil the responsibility of maintaining and assuring law and order. It is expected from us that we the protectors of law will continue to assure law and order in the capital.”

On 4 November, a lawyer manhandled a police constable outside the Saket Court. The video of the incident went viral, evoking strong responses from current and former police officers. The IPS Association condemned the development and said on Twitter: “Incident involving police & lawyers unfortunate. All should take a balanced view of it based on facts in (the) public domain. Countrywide, police stands (sic) in solidarity with those police personnel subjected to physical assault & humiliation. Condemn all attempts to break law, by anyone!”

The police are resenting the fact that action was taken against their colleagues before the completion of the inquiry into the incident of violence outside the Tis Hazari Court whereas no action was taken against the lawyers who had not only assaulted the cops on the premises but also set police vehicles on fire.

Meanwhile, Home Ministry sources said that Delhi Police had submitted the full report of the violence in Tis Hazari Court on 2 November to MHA and that the Ministry of Home Affairs was keeping an eye on the situation. Delhi policemen have requested the PMO, too, to intervene and the Ministry of Home Affairs to take the matter seriously.

Appealing to the policemen, Patnaik said that the government and the public expected a lot from the department because “we are the keepers of the law”. He said, so far, the policemen were maintaining law and order, and urged them to keep it that way.

The investigation team has been formed on the orders of the court. “We should trust it and wait for their decision,” the commissioner of police said.

Patnaik further said, “Our officers have done their duty with full responsibility on what happened on Saturday. I request you to go back to your duty. You should know that many of our jawans are on duty even in this situation. Delhi Police is considered one of the best police forces across the country. We will try our best to remove the apprehensions in your mind.” However, the commotion did not stop after the police commissioner’s appeal. Policemen are shouting slogans of ‘We want justice’ vigorously.

Meanwhile, lawyers in Delhi are on strike, too, and now the Bar Council has warned them. The Bar Council of India has warned the lawyers. If any lawyer is found involved in violent incidents or sabotage, strict action will be taken against him, the bar warned. The council has called for the names of the lawyers involved in the violence and asked them to withdraw the strike today. The council said that if that did not happen, it would separate itself from the case and will not be part of any investigation.

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India

Advocates unsafe in Bengal: No justice since 24 April assault

Kolkata: Advocates in Howrah and Kolkata have been demonstrating outside court premises and elsewhere for more than a month after some of them were assaulted by goons in the Howrah Court Complex. The Mamata Banerjee government has not addressed their concerns yet. An advocate is seen here relating his plight.

The agitating advocates have now added to the strength of the striking doctors, as both the group of professionals are under attack in Bengal.

While Calcutta High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the assault on lawyers in Howrah, this advocate says that the high court also directed the police not to enter the court premises without the permission of the district judge, but the police are wantonly violating the order.

The advocate further says that false cases have been filed against the protesting advocates. Thankfully, he says, the high court has put a stay on all those cases.

If any doctor is arrested without any reason, advocates will also want that they should be released immediately, the advocate in the video above says.

“Lawyers and doctors serve society; if they are asking for some respect, their expectation is legitimate,” the advocate says. While lawyers and doctors are engaged in serving the public day in and day out, they are being attacked daily, he says. “How can they be attacked this way? We want justice,” he says.

On 24 April, at the Howrah Court Complex, advocates found vehicles of employees of the Howrah Municipal Corporation parked wrongly in the area meant for advocates’ cars. After they went to the municipality office to complain, instead of removing the vehicles, about 300 people from the municipal corporation, along with policemen, entered the court complex and assaulted the advocates.

Many of the advocates were badly wounded. Several bled profusely.

In the incident of April, police were seen pelting stones. The cops not only beat up the advocates, but they also entered the courtroom of the additional district judge and detonated a shell/bomb.

The judge himself says here when he was seated in his courtroom, police burst shells inside.

All over the State of West Bengal, the bar associations ceased work for several days in support of the victims of the Howrah Court atrocities.

The advocates started joining work after about a month of the said incident, but their issue of safety and security remains unaddressed.

In the meantime, some unknown elements had spread a rumour that the advocates’ strike had been called off, which created confusion among the striking lawyers.

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India

Trump says spy infiltrated his 2016 campaign

Washington: President Donald Trump accused the Justice Department on Friday of trying to frame him by planting a spy in his 2016 campaign — an allegation his own lawyer said might not be true.

Promoting a theory that is circulating in conservative circles, Trump quoted Fox Business anchor David Asman and tweeted: “Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit.”

But Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani cast some doubt on that.

On whether there was an “informant” in the 2016 presidential campaign, Giuliani said, “I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one,” though he said they have long been told there was “some kind of infiltration.”

Last week, the National Review raised the question of a possible FBI spy in Trump’s campaign. The article cites work by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter and head of the House intelligence committee, who has demanded information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, objected today to such demands, emphasising “the critical importance of protecting sources and methods.”

“It would be at best irresponsible, and at worst potentially illegal, for members of Congress to use their positions to learn the identity of an FBI source for the purpose of undermining the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in our election,” Warner wrote in a statement.

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BJP ministers who took part in Jammu lawyers’ rally resign

Jammu: Two BJP ministers, who were at the centre of a storm over their participation in a rally of lawyers, which a large section of the media projected as a rally in support of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case, today submitted their resignations to the party’s State president Sat Sharma. “Yes, the two ministers have submitted their resignation to me,” Sharma said.

He said a legislature party meeting of the BJP is scheduled to be held tomorrow in Jammu where the future course of action on this issue will be discussed.

“We are going to discuss this and other issues at our legislature party meeting tomorrow,” Sharma said when asked if he was going to forward the resignations to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Jammu & Kashmir Forest Minister Chaudhary Lal Singh and Industries Minister Chander Prakash had attended the lawyers’ rally.

Opposition National Conference and the Congress had demanded that the chief minister sack the two ministers.

The rape and killing of the girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, has become a national issue. The gory details of the heinous crime surfaced following the filing of the charges.

The victim had disappeared from a spot near her house on 10 January. A week later, her body was found in the same area.

A Special Investigation Team, formed to probe the incident, has arrested eight people, including two special police officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.

However, an alternative narrative of the crime and the subsequent developments have emerged in the past 24 hours. The lawyers allege that policeman Irfan Wani, a Kashmiri member of the Crime Branch, is notorious for inciting communal passions in the State and that he was once booked for the crime though later acquitted.

The lawyers say they were carrying the National Flag and were chanting “Jai Sri Ram” not to demand an exoneration of the rape accused, but to demand the ouster of the Myanmarese infiltrators. They allege that a large section of the media has misreported their demonstrations by linking two separate, mutually unrelated stories.

The lawyers insist they want justice for the victim in the gang-rape incident and are not fighting for the acquittal of any of the accused. However, they add that the victim wouldn’t get justice until cops like Wani are in the team, who, they fear, would frame some innocent people and let the actual criminals go scot-free. This is why, the BAJ says, it wants an inquiry by the CBI.

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India

SC to hear today plea to curb rising pollution in Delhi-NCR

Delhi: The Supreme Court agreed to hear today itself a fresh plea seeking to curb rising pollution in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer R K Kapoor that rise in dust particles on roads, stubble burning in Delhi’s neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab have led to an alarming rise in pollution levels in the NCR and its adjoining areas.

“We cannot ignore the pollution,” the bench said adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board.

The fresh plea seeks direction to the Centre and the states concerned to take measures on curbing road dust and stubble burning.

It also seeks effective implementation of the odd-even car rationing scheme.

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India

Don’t pay lawyers without approval: Sisodia tells departments

Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed all administrative departments of the Delhi government not to make payments to any of their lawyers without his approval, according to a memorandum issued to the departments.

Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said no administrative department will process payment to any lawyer whose empanelment or appointment is not approved by the law minister.

The finance department issued an office memorandum to all principal secretaries and head of departments after the deputy chief minister “desired” to issue the directions.

“All payments of any lawyer(s) of any administrative department shall be made after the approval of the finance minister,” the memorandum stated.

It stated, “No administrative department shall process the payment of any lawyer(s) whose empanelment or appointment is not approved by the Minister of Law.”

In September, Sisodia urged Lt. Gov. Anil Baijal to put on hold the recruitment process for lawyers being carried out by the services department, saying it suffers from legal infirmities.

In his letter to Baijal, Sisodia alleged that officials had refused to show the file on the recruitment process to him, citing the LGs orders.

Sisodia also holds the services portfolio.

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SC rejects bail plea of lawyer in money laundering case

Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected the bail plea of lawyer Rohit Tandon, who was arrested in connection with an alleged money laundering case post demonetisation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud dismissed the bail plea of Tandon, who was arrested after a raid on his law firm in connection with a black money probe that had led to the alleged seizure of Rs 13.6 crore.

He was allegedly involved in illegal conversion of nearly Rs 60 crore demonetised currency.

Earlier during the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi seeking bail for Tandon, had said that the concept of bail is rule and jail is exception has been turned upside down in this case.

Rohatgi had argued that no case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was made out against Tandon.

He said Tandon was allegedly found with unaccounted cash but that is not an offence under PMLA as the Act deals with proceeds of crime.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta had vehemently opposed the bail plea and submitted that Tandon was converting the illegal cash and causing harm to the government of India which had cracked down on black money.

Tandon has sought regular bail on the ground that he needs to look after his ailing mother.

The apex court had on September 4 refused to extend the three-week interim bail granted by the Delhi High Court to the lawyer.

He was granted interim bail on August 10 by the High Court from where he had withdrawn his plea for regular bail.

Tandon had earlier moved a fresh bail application before the High Court which on May 5 had rejected his bail plea.

A trial court had earlier denied bail to Tandon on the ground that he was alleged to have been involved in a “white collar crime” with other accused in a “well-planned” manner.

The Enforcement Directorate had arrested him after a raid on his law firm in connection with a black money probe that had led to the alleged seizure of Rs 13.6 crore.

Besides him, some other accused were also arrested in connection with a separate Prevention of Money Laundering Act case.