The Delhi High Court has sought a formal response from Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena on a plea by Jasmine Shah, a leader of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), who was restricted from discharging the functions of Vice-Chairman of Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) after the order by the LG.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh said that it will examine the LG’s response, before deciding whether he could have passed an order like that.
The counsel for the Delhi government informed the Court today that as per the LG’s request the planning department has been ordered to rescind its order closing Shah’s office and withdrawing facilities accorded to him.
The Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) Vinai Kumar Saxena was represented by the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who said that it is more to the order as there are ‘larger issues’ involved in the case.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said that she needs affidavits on record and ordered for affidavit to be filed in Court before the next date of hearing.
The Director (Planning) Govt of NCT of Delhi and the local sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) have also been asked for their response to the Court.
As per the media reports, after the order by LG, the DDCD’s office where Vice chairman sits was locked and his official vehicle was taken away.
The LG also instructed the CM Arvind Kejriwal for sacking the Vice Chairman Shah for misusing his office for political purposes’.
The LG took this action after a complaint alleging that the vice-chairman of Delhi government think tank, DDCD, has been acting as official spokesperson of AAP for political gains, in violation of established procedures was filed by BJP MP Parvesh Singh Verma.
In the plea, the AAP politician has also challenged the decision of the chamber of the Director (Planning), who ordered locking of Shah’s office and withdrawing all staff and facilities provided to him.
The plea also said that in case of DDCD the sole supervisory jurisdiction and authority over the appointment and discharge of function lies with Delhi cabinet and the Chief Minister and LG does not have any jurisdiction to take cognizance of the complaint or ask for explanation.
The plea also said that the entire basis of the proceedings against the Petitioner having misused his office as Vice Chairperson, DDCD by appearing in television debates on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party is fallacious and misconceived,’ the plea said.
The plea made it clear that the expectation of political neutrality is only associated with the Government servants who constitute the permanent executive in a Parliamentary system of democracy such as the one adopted by India.
In such a system, while policy is decided by elected leaders while policy decisions are implemented by the Government servants.