The Supreme Court on Thursday junked a plea by the Delhi Police challenging the High Court order, which asked it to supply the copy of statement of a witness to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 11 other MLAs in a case connected with alleged assault of the then chief secretary Anshu Prakash in 2018.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told the police, “It may be a hot political potato for you but there is nothing in it legally”. The bench also comprising Justice M.R. Shah added that in accordance with the basic principle of natural justice, there must be a “robust common sense”, which is that the accused must have the witness’s statement copy.
The criminal case was registered in connection with the alleged assault on Prakash during a meeting at Kejriwal’s official residence on February 19, 2018. The alleged assault had triggered a bitter tussle between the Delhi government and its bureaucrats.
Counsel for police argued that this is a question of statement not being recorded under 161, and it is an important matter with ramification elsewhere. The bench responded this will not have ramification and refused to entertain the appeal.
The top court observed that the accused must have a copy of the statement, for a robust criminal justice system. “It’s a good view of the High Court”, said the bench.
In October 2018, Kejriwal, Sisodia and nine other AAP MLAs were granted bail. MLAs, Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, were earlier granted bail by the High Court.