13 Dec 2022 9:57 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday was informed that the matter regarding removal of Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) Vice Chairperson Jasmine Shah from the post has been referred for a decision by President of India, due to the difference of opinion between Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The submission was made in a preliminary...
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday was informed that the matter regarding removal of Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) Vice Chairperson Jasmine Shah from the post has been referred for a decision by President of India, due to the difference of opinion between Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The submission was made in a preliminary counter affidavit filed by the LG and Delhi's Director (Planning) in response to Shah's plea against LG's decision asking the Chief Minister to remove him from the post and restricting him from discharge of functions as the V-C in the meantime.
The LG in response has said that until the President of India returns a decision in the matter, it would be prudent for the parties to take no further action in the matter.
"That in exercise of such authority vested in him by Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution, the Hon'ble L.t Governor, in terms of difference of opinion expressed by the Hon'ble Deputy Chief Minister and approved by the Hon'ble Chief Minister, referred the matter to the Hon'ble President on 30.11.2022," the response reads.
The court has also been informed that the LG has also directed that Shah be prohibited from discharging the function of Vice-Chairperson of DDCD and from using official premises, pending decision of the President of India.
It has been submitted that despite intimation of reference to the President of India, Chief Minister Kejriwal on December 8 issued an order directing the Planning Department to recall the LG's order and all actions emanating therefrom.
"That by way of the above order, in complete contradiction to Article 239AA (4) and Rules 50, 51 and 52 of TBR, the Hon'ble Chief Minister proceeded to form an opinion on the matter of Sh. Jasmine Shah for a second time, despite such matter having been referred to the Hon'ble President of India. By way of this order, in complete derogation of the noting of the Hon'ble Lt. Governor dated 30.11.2022," the reply states.
It has also been stated that while the matter stood referred to the President of India, Chief Minister Kejriwal proceeded to "summarily decide the matter on merits", despite being aware that the matter is now to be decided by the President of India.
In September, BJP MP Pravesh Sahib Singh had filed a complaint alleging that Shah was acting as official spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party before the media, and called it a misuse of public office.
Shah, who was appointed as the chairperson of the government think tank in 2020, was earlier issued a show cause notice by the Director of Planning Department for alleged "misuse of public resources" for political activities. Shah had chosen to submit his response to the Chief Minister through Deputy Chief Minister/Minister (Planning). The LG had earlier sought a copy of the reply from the Chief Minister's office but the same was not provided, according to the planning department.
Defending his political activities, Shah in his petition has argued that the expectation of 'political neutrality' is only associated with 'government servants' who constitute the 'permanent executive' in a parliamentary system of democracy such as the one adopted by India.
He has also said that he has never used the official premises of the DDCD for any television debate or media interaction "as alleged in the complaint, and rubber stamped in the impugned order".