Petitioner said Mayor was continuing as a law teacher on DU payrolls

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the election of Rajni Abbi as the Mayor of Delhi on the ground that she was holding an office of profit at the time of her election to the post by continuing as a law teacher on the rolls of Delhi University's Atma Ram Sanatan Dharam College.

Dismissing the petition filed by Shambu Dayal Sharma, a councillor of the civic body, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said the Mayor was not holding an office of profit when she was elected the Mayor as she was not a Central Government employee merely by dint of the fact that the university was established by the Union Government.

Justice Sahai said the Government does not exercise any control in the appointment of a teaching or non-teaching employee of the university. He also referred to a report by a Joint Committee of the 14{+t}{+h} Lok Sabha which had examined the procedure of appointment and functioning in Delhi University and recommended that the Chancellor of Central Universities cannot be holding an office of profit under the Government.

The petitioner had argued that according to the rules governing the elections of councillors of the civic body, which are also applicable to the election of Mayor or Deputy Mayor, “a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as a councillor if he or she holds any office of profit”.

He further submitted that Ms Abbi had not resigned or taken leave from her employer immediately after her election as a councillor which disqualified her to function as a councillor and subsequently as a Mayor as “a person holding an office of profit and simultaneously functioning as a councillor and thereafter as a Mayor invites disqualification under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act”.

However, Justice Endlaw dismissed the argument and said: “It cannot be lost sight of that higher education though earlier largely in public domain has in recent past witnessed private participation also and thus merely because Delhi University in the present case was established by the Government would not qualify the employees of the Delhi University as government employees.”

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