The city police on Tuesday informed the Delhi High Court that security outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence, where an incident of vandalism occurred in March, has been beefed up with the deployment of additional armed guards. The police said the proposal to curtail entry on the road where the chief minister’s residence is located is also under consideration and discussions are on with the residents welfare associations (RWA).
The court was informed by the counsel for police that the status report is under preparation and sought some time to file it on record. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla granted time to the police to file the status report and said it shall be filed positively before the next date, that is, May 30.
The Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Sanjay Lau submitted that the status report of Delhi Police was under preparation and it could not be filed as Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain was not available. He further said more police personnel have been deployed outside the CM’s house and they were talking with RWAs to install two gates on both sides of the road and that no assembly or protests will be allowed near the Civil Lines metro station.
The court was hearing a plea by AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj about the March 30 attack during a protest against Kejriwal’s remarks on ’The Kashmir Files’, a film on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Scores of protesters belonging to the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, had allegedly breached the barricades to reach the entrance of the chief minister’s residence and destroyed public property in the presence of police.
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the petitioner, urged the court to direct the police to provide them a copy of the report so that they are able to assist the court properly. To this, the bench said, first let us see it. If we feel it is something to be shared with you, we will.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, also representing the petitioner, suggested that the authorities can consider imposing section 144 of CrPC in the area around the CM house like Rashtrapati Bhawan. Earlier, the high court had termed it a ”very disturbing state of affairs” and voiced displeasure over the ”failure” of police to prevent the incident of vandalism at the CM’s and directed the city police commissioner to fix responsibility for the ”serious lapse”.
It had taken note of the earlier status report filed by the police on the incident which said certain people breached the barricades and reached the gate of the residence. This kind of incident happening at the residence of any constitutional functionary — whether it is the CM, it could be a judge of the high court or Supreme Court, it could be any other Union Minister — this is a very disturbing state of affairs that this kind of a thing could in the first place occur or such miscreants should succeed in their endeavour,” the court had said.
Wondering how could the protesters breach three layers of barricades, the court had said, if it so happened, the police should look at its own efficiency and functioning. Bhardwaj, in his petition filed through advocate Bharat Gupta, has sought constitution of an SIT to probe the attack and argued that the vandalisation of the official residence of the chief minister during a protest against his remarks on ’The Kashmir Files’ appears to have been carried out with Delhi Police’s ”tacit complicity”.
On March 30, 2022, several BJP goons, in the garb of a protest, launched an attack on the official residence of the Delhi CM. ”Videos and photographs show that these goons casually walked through the security cordon (maintained by Delhi Police), kicked and broke the boom barrier, broke the CCTVs cameras with lathis, threw paint on the gate of the residence, and almost climbed over the gate, while Delhi Police personnel simply looked on, doing little to stop the protestors, the plea alleged. On April 1, the high court had sought a status report from the police on the incident and said an ”element of fear” was sought to be created by the ”unruly crowd”, and the police force at the spot was ”inadequate” and ”outnumbered”.