Lawyers renew Bedi battle

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  • Published 23.08.05

New Delhi, Aug. 23: Kiran Bedi, who returned from a two-year stint as press adviser to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan four months ago, is waiting for a posting, and the Delhi Bar Association is going all out to ensure she does not get the job that would put her on track for the police chief’s post.

Bedi, a special commissioner in Delhi police, is next in seniority to commissioner K.K. Paul who still has a long way to go before retirement.

Sewa Dass, the special commissioner, administration, is due to retire in two months, fuelling speculation that Bedi could be asked to succeed him. This post is usually reserved for the number two in the hierarchy and several former commissioners have served on it before being promoted.

Bedi has, however, not held any sensitive post since the Wadhwa Commission inquiring into the infamous 1988 lathicharge on lawyers passed strictures against her. She was then deputy commissioner.

With Bedi’s posting coming up in the government this week, the bar association is going all out to pre-empt any move to name her Sewa Dass’s successor and pave the way for her possible appointment as Delhi police chief in future.

The bar association has written to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Union home minister Shivraj Patil, arguing that Bedi’s appointment might unnecessarily create a conflict between the legal fraternity and the police.

Citing the Wadhwa Commission’s indictment, the letter said: “It is unfortunate that now an effort is being made by certain sections to project her as the best candidate for the post of police chief in Delhi.”

The Wadhwa Commission was set up in February 1988 to probe a lathicharge of lawyers protesting against a colleague’s arrest outside Bedi’s office. A mob led by a local corporator and shouting pro-Bedi slogans had attacked lawyers protesting against the lathicharge at Tis Hazari Court.