Delhi HC to hear plea against sit-in by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, petition calls it unconstitutional

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday agreed to hear on 18 June a plea seeking to declare the sit-in by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues as unconstitutional and illegal. The petition was mentioned before Justice C Hari Shankar who said that it will be listed for hearing on Monday.

The plea filed by petitioner Hari Nath Ram sought direction for discharging the chief ministerial obligations and responsibilities as the entire functioning of the Chief Minister office of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi has been brought to a "stand still" since the sit-in started.

The petition, filed through advocates Shashak Deo Sudhi and Shashi Bhushan, sought court's direction to the Delhi government to declare the sit-in called by the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues as unconstitutional and illegal. "In the alternative, to issue comprehensive guidelines for legislative members not to indulge into acts of constitutional crisis including the strike for executive bargaining in the interest of justice," the plea said.

File image of Delhi chief minister. PTI

File image of Delhi chief minister. PTI

Kejriwal and his ministers have been staging a sit-in at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's office since 11 June evening to press for their demands, including a direction to IAS officers to end their "strike" and act against those who have struck work.

Kejriwal's deputy Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyender Jain are on an indefinite hunger strike to press for their demands.

The plea submitted that taxpayer's money was being wasted for the constitutional bargain by the chief minister of the state from the L-G.

"It is settled position of law that L-G has special power in respect of the NCT of Delhi. Notwithstanding, the chief minister of NCT of Delhi is flouting the fundamental law of the country despite having taken an oath under the constitution of India. It is equally settled law that the person who had taken the oath under the Constitution, is enjoined to follow the constitutional postulates and mandates.

"However, the chief minister of NCT of Delhi is not holding administrative works, which are the cardinal function of the chief minister to govern the state under the rule of law," the plea claimed.

It added that the sit-in was stoppage of all public works for the purpose of acceptance of demands by the strikers and there was no statutory or legal provision empowering the chief minster to go on the sit-in. The plea has arrayed as parties Delhi government through secretary and the chief minister through NCT of Delhi. In the morning, a team of doctors conducted a health checkup of Sisodia and Jain at the L-G office, who are on an indefinite hunger strike to press for their demands. They also want the L-G to approve the proposal for doorstep delivery of ration.

Kejriwal has said they will not leave the L-G office until their demands are met. The Aam Aadmi Party has threatened to stage a "dharna" at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Sunday if a solution to the issue was not found this week. According to the AAP government, officers have not been attending meetings with the ministers and not picking up their calls due to which government work for people was suffering.

However, IAS officers' association has claimed that no officer has been on strike and no work has been affected. The L-G's office recently slammed Kejriwal's sit-in, saying it was one more "dharna without reason".

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 18:05 PM

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