Excise policy case: Delhi HC transfers petition seeking removal of Kejriwal as CM to acting CJ

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday transferred the petition moved by a former AAP minister seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from CM’s post. The single judge directed to list the petition before the bench of the acting Chief Justice. The petition is to be listed before the bench of the acting Chief Justice on April 10.

The High Court said a heavy cost should be imposed. The High Court asked how the writ of quo warranto lies in this matter and whether it was a PIL? Justice Subramonium Prasad said that similar matters are entertained and disposed of by the chief justice. “List the same before the bench of chief justice the day after tomorrow,” Justice Prasad said.

The bench said that heavy costs should be imposed. Kejriwal’s counsel said a heavy cost should be imposed as this is the third petition seeking the removal of Kejriwal.

An ex-minister in the Aam Aadmi Party government and former MLA has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from holding the post of Chief Minister.

The petition claims a writ of quo-warranto against Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that he has incurred the incapacity to hold the office of Chief Minister of Delhi after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in Excise Policy.

Petitioner Sandeep Kumar, former minister for Women and Child Development, Social Welfare, SC/ST Govt. of NCT of Delhi in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and former MLA from Sultanpur Mazra Vidhansabha Delhi, through his plea, stated that Arvind Kejriwal, while lodged in jail, has incurred an incapacity to carry out his constitutional obligations and functions under Articles 239AA (4), 167 (b) and (c) and proviso to sub-section (4) of Section 14 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and hence he can no longer function as the Chief Minister of Delhi.

It further stated that the Chief Minister, while in jail, prevents the Lieutenant Governor from exercising his Constitutional obligations and functions under article 167 (c) of the Constitution, which is identical to section 45 (c) of the Delhi Act, 1991 and for this reason, he cannot continue in office.

In 2019, he was disqualified by Delhi Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel under the anti-defection law after he supported the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the Lok Sabha elections. In 2016, AAP suspended its MLA and ex-minister Sandeep Kumar after a raging controversy over an ‘objectionable CD’ that showed him in a compromising position with a woman.

Recently, the Delhi High Court refused to entertain two Public Interest Litigations (PIL) seeking directions to remove Kejriwal from the post of Chief Minister.

During the arguments, the bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, made oral observations stating that, at times, personal interests have to be subordinate to national interests. We do not administer the state. The petitioner can approach the Lieutenant Governor with the grievance raised in the petition, according to Delhi HC.

Kejriwal was arrested on March 21 by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to the excise policy case and has spent 10 days in ED custody, after court direction.

Kejriwal was arrested by the central agency on charges of corruption in the case. It is the first time in independent India that a serving Chief Minister has been arrested. The move came after Kejriwal skipped multiple summonses by the investigation agency, nine in total, calling them “illegal.”

The case pertains to alleged irregularities and money laundering in framing and implementing the Delhi Excise Policy 2022, which was later scrapped.

While Kejriwal was not named in the FIRs registered by the ED or the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case, his name first found a mention in the ED’s chargesheet, wherein the agency claimed that he allegedly spoke to one of the main accused, Sameer Mahendru, in a video call and asked him to continue working with co-accused and AAP communications-in-charge Vijay Nair.

Nair was among the first people to be arrested by the CBI in the case, in 2022. Subsequently, former deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh were arrested in connection with the case. (ANI)

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