New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday posted Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) politician Jasmine Shah’s plea challenging Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s decision to restrict him from “discharging his duties” as the Vice Chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD), for the next hearing on March 29.
The LG had also restricted Shah from using any privilege and facilities associated with the office.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain sought an adjournment in the matter as he had to argue in a death reference matter before the apex court. He stated that it was part heard and the whole day will go in submissions as it is related to Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, appearing for Shah contended that he has argued at length in the matter, and there is no interim order.
The court then adjourned the matter.
On February 9, Nayar had argued that the entire power lies within the Legislative Assembly and power of appointment and removal is only with the Chief Minister.
Referring to the Transaction of Business (Amendment) Rules, he had said: “The course of action of the rules should be followed by the LG with reference to Chief Minister or its counsel.”
The High Court, on December 13, held that in the absence of consensus between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and LG Saxena on removal of Shah as Chairman of DDCD, the matter has been referred to the President.
The court was also informed that in the exercise of powers under Article 239AA, the LG has ordered that Shah will not be allowed into the DDCD office till the President takes a call on the issue.
The LG had said that until the President returns a decision on the matter, it would be prudent for the parties to take no further action.
On November 28, the HC sought a response from the LG after Shah moved the HC challenging L-G’s actions.
Saxena on November 18, had asked CM Kejriwal to restrict Shah from “discharging his duties” as the Vice Chairman of the DDCD and from using any privilege and facilities associated with the office.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh had said that it will examine the LG’s response, before deciding whether he could have passed an order like that.
The judge had said she cannot deal with the issues without having affidavits on record and asked the respondents to file affidavits before the next date of the hearing. It had also sought responses from the Director (Planning) Govt of NCT of Delhi and the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM).
Shah’s office was sealed late on November 17, by the SDM, Civil Lines. ASG Jain, appearing for the LG, had told the court that there are “larger issues” involved in the case.
However, the Delhi government counsel had told the Court that Saxena’s request to remove Shah had not been accepted. The Planning Department has also been ordered to cancel its order closing Shah’s office and withdrawing facilities granted to him.
The LG’s actions followed after Bharatiya Janata Party MP Parvesh Singh Verma filed a complaint alleging Shah was acting as the official spokesperson of AAP for political gains, in violation of established procedures.
The LG had also asked the CM to sack Shah for allegedly “misusing his office for political purposes”. Shah had said the LG’s action is “without jurisdiction, completely illegal, and unconstitutional”. The AAP politician then moved the High Court to challenge the L-G’s actions.