Delhi High Court rejects plea to remove CM Arvind Kejriwal after arrest

“This court is of the view that there is no scope for judicial interference. It is for the other wing of the government to examine the issue in accordance with the law,” the Bench said.

Updated - March 28, 2024 10:46 pm IST

Published - March 28, 2024 02:42 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is brought to Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on March 28, 2024.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is brought to Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on March 28, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Delhi High Court on March 28 rejected a petition seeking removal of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal from the post, following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in an excise policy-linked money laundering case.

“This court is of the view that there is no scope for judicial interference. It is for the other wing of the government to examine the issue in accordance with the law,” a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P. S. Arora said.

Also read | Arvind Kejriwal arrest LIVE updates | March 28

In his petition, Surjit Singh Yadav demanded that the Centre, Delhi governments and the Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor be asked to explain under what authority Mr. Kejriwal is still holding the post of Chief Minister.

He contended that the continuation of Mr. Kejriwal as the Chief Minister will not only lead to disruption of law and order but also lead to breakdown of the constitutional machinery of the State.

The high court, however, asked Mr. Yadav to show the “legal bar” which prohibit Mr. Kejriwal from acting as Chief Minister from behind bars.

“The question we are asking is if there is any prohibition or any bar which prevent him from continuing as a Chief Minister? If there is constitutional failure, the President will act on it. Or the Governor will act on it. We (court) will not act on it,” the high court stressed.

“239AB (Provision in case of failure of constitutional machinery) is not to be exercised by the high court, it is to be exercised by the Governor. The Governor will exercise it, and it will go to the President, but the problem is, which we are asking you (petitioner) is, is there any scope for judicial interference on this issue,” the high court asked.

“We have read today’s newspaper, the Lieutenant Governor is examining this issue. It will go the President for examination, that is up to them. That (task) belongs to a different wing,” the Bench said.

“There may be practical difficulties. Even today we have matter where the Chief Secretary has been told to placed a file before the Chief Minister. We don’t know how it will operate, what will happen. But that is something else. That is practical difficulties,” it added.

“239AB is not something which we will consider. We don’t have to give them (the executive) any guidance. Why should we pass an order. We don’t impose President’s rule. The executive branch does it,” the Bench said.

“Probably this situation was not envisaged. There is not legal bar that you (petitioner) are able to submit,” it said while declining the plea.

The plea argued that “sitting in jail the Chief Minister is incapable of transacting any business that the law enjoins upon him”. It said if he is allowed to do so, any material, irrespective of its secretive nature, would have to be scanned thoroughly by the prison authorities before it reaches the hands of Mr. Kejriwal.

“Such an act would amount to direct breach of oath of secrecy administered to the Respondent No.4 (Mr. Kejriwal) under the Third Schedule of the Constitution of India,” the plea added.

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