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Delhi HC rejects third plea for Arvind Kejriwal's removal as Delhi CM, blasts petitioner for abuse of judicial process [Read Judgment]

By Shreya Agarwal      11 April, 2024 03:29 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed the third ‘public interest litigation’ (PIL) petition moved before it seeking Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s removal as Chief Minister of Delhi.

Expressing its displeasure on the issue of abuse of judicial process by moving a PIL on the same issue repeatedly, the Court said, “This is ‘not a James Bond film’ that would have sequels.”

For context, similar pleas had already been dismissed by the Court on two more occasions - i.e. on March 28 and April 4.

The present plea was filed by former MLA Sandeep Kumar of Kejriwal’s own political party, i.e. the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Kumar sought Kejriwal’s removal on account of his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Delhi liquor policy scam matter.

Kumar claimed that Arvind Kejriwal's "unavailability" complicated the constitutional mechanism, and that he could never run the government from jail as mandated by the Constitution.

However, refusing to venture into the case and what the Court believed was a “political thicket”, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Preet Singh Arora said, “The (Lt) Governor will take a call on this. You are trying to involve us in a political thicket, that's all”.

Disposing the matter, the Court imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner.

Noting that Kumar’s submissions were politically motivated, the Court asked him to refrain from making 'political speeches' inside the court.

"Don't reduce us to a joke. It is only because of people like you, your client, that we are reduced to a joke," Justice Manmohan said. "You are trying to make a mockery of the system, we will not be involved (in this political thicket)," the bench said.

Pointing out that this was not the Court’s domain to make a decision on, it enquired, "Have you seen a court imposing the Governor's rule or the President's Rule? Have the Supreme Court or High Court ever removed any Chief Minister?”

Kumar argued that in the case of BR Kapoor versus the State of Tamil Nadu in 2001, sitting Chief Minister J Jayalalitha was convicted for 3 years under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and was disqualified from holding the office under Article 191 and Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

However, the Court refused to accept this argument pointing out that Jayalalitha was convicted, and thus disqualified. The same does not apply here.

The Court had rejected the earlier pleas holding that the petitioner had failed to present any legal bar that prohibited the AAP national convenor from holding office, and that it was Kejriwal's personal choice to continue as the Chief Minister and granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the Lieutenant Governor (LG), instead.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested by the ED on March 21, after the high court denied him protection from coercive action by the agency after he refused to comply with the ED’s summons 9 times. He is currently in judicial custody.

 

[Read Judgment]



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