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Delhi High Court refuses to entertain PIL seeking removal of Kejriwal as CM

‘At times, personal interest has to be subordinate to national interest’, says Bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan

Delhi High Court refuses to entertain PIL seeking removal of Kejriwal as CM

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is in judicial custody till April 15. PTI



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 4

Noting that it’s a personal call of Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL seeking his removal from the post of Delhi Chief Minister following his arrest in a money laundering case related to Delhi excise policy scam.

“At times, personal interest has to be subordinate to national interest. But that’s his (Kejriwal’s) personal call,” a Bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said, turning down the second PIL within a week for Kejriwal’s removal as Delhi Chief Minister.

“If he (Kejriwal) does not want to do that (resign) it’s up to him. We are a court of law…Do you have any precedent that President’s rule or Governor’s rule has been imposed by the court?...” it asked petitioner Vishnu Gupta’s counsel.

Gupta – who was forced to withdraw his PIL – had sought directions for Kejriwal’s removal as Delhi Chief Minister with effect from March 21, the day he was arrested. Currently lodged in Tihar Jail under judicial custody, Kejriwal has refused to resign as Delhi Chief Minister.

“If the Chief Minister acts in a manner which offends rule of law and commits breach of the constitutional trust reposed in him. In that eventuality, his dismissal from the office of Chief Minister is inhibited in Article 164 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the Respondent No.4 [Kejriwal] is guilty of breach of constitutional trust for allegations of corruption and consequently his arrest,” Gupta had contended.

However, maintaining that the court can’t decide such an issue, the Bench said it’s up to the Delhi Lt. Governor or the President to take a call on Kejriwal’s removal.

“How can we declare that the Delhi Government is not functioning? The LG is fully competent to decide it. He (LG) does not need our guidance. We are no one to advise him. He will do whatever he has to in accordance with law,” it said.

Describing it “a practical issue not a legal issue,” the high court said, “We won’t go into this. We will declare that the government is not functioning? Lt. Governor is fully competent. He does not need our guidance. There is discretion to take the call. Let’s not anticipate that they won’t discharge their functions. We can’t venture into this.”

It said, “Constitutional morality will be considered by the LG. He will consider it… and the PM. They are the authorities. Everything cannot be done by the courts. We don’t administer the State. Next time there’s a war with a neighbouring country, you’ll say… this matter will reach a right conclusion.”

In a big relief for AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court had on March 28 dismissed a PIL filed by one Surjit Singh Yadav seeking his removal from the post of Delhi Chief Minister.

“This court is of the view that there is no scope for judicial interference vis- a-vis the relief sought for in the PIL. The PIL is dismissed. We have not commented on the merits,” a Division Bench – which also included Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora—had said, dismissing Yadav’s PIL.

“You (Yadav) will have to show us some bar or prohibition that prohibits him from being a CM. If there is any constitutional failure the President or Governor will act on it. It may take some but I am sure they will decide this. The situation today is something that was not imagined. There is no legal bar today,” Justice Manmohan said.

“We should not get into this politics. The political parties will get into this. They will go before the public... It is not for us,” the Bench had said.

Citing constitutional provisions, including Articles 162, 163 and 164, the petitioners had contended that Kejriwal’s current status as an inmate incapacitated him from fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of his position as Chief Minister.

 

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