Penalty of ₹1 lakh for petitioning to set up Arvind Kejriwal’s office in jail.

Arvind Kejriwal

Penalty of ₹1 lakh for petitioning to set up Arvind Kejriwal’s office in jail.

Arvind Kejriwal
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The Delhi High Court today levied a ₹ one 100,000 penalty on a petitioner who requested permission and facilities for Arvind Kejriwal to set up the chief minister’s office in jail to administer the union territory from judicial custody. The court rejected the request as ‘not maintainable’.
Advocate Shrikant Prasad filed the PIL suit, which sought to establish virtual conferencing services for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to connect with cabinet ministers, guaranteeing uninterrupted government. It also aimed to prevent media outlets from sensationalising reports about the chief minister’s possible departure and the implementation of President’s Rule in the national capital.

On Wednesday, a division bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan observed that because Mr Kejriwal has already filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court challenging his arrest by ED and the top court is considering the issue of interim release, the PIL does not call for orders allowing him to interact with cabinet ministers via virtual conferencing.

The bench also stated that it cannot impose censorship by instructing the media not to broadcast certain viewpoints or prevent political opponents from demanding for Mr Kejriwal’s resignation.

The PIL had targeted Virendra Sachdeva, the head of the BJP in Delhi, stating that his demonstrations and utterances put undue pressure on Mr Kejriwal’s resignation by disturbing peace and traffic flow with politically driven motives.

The bench dismissed the PIL and imposed a ₹1 lakh fine to be submitted with AIIMS.

The court criticized the PIL, asking, “What should we do? Impose an emergency? Implement censorship or martial law? How can we impose gag orders on the press and political rivals?”

Mr Prasad’s plea highlighted Delhi’s impressive track record of governance over the last seven years, notably in the education and healthcare sectors. It maintains that the current situation in the national capital violates basic rights guaranteed by Articles 21, 14, and 19 of the Indian Constitution.

Mr Prasad’s petition, which asserted that neither the Constitution nor any legislation forbid officials, including chief ministers or prime ministers, from leading from jail, emphasized the urgency of the situation, noting the necessity to preserve continuity in governance for the welfare of the people.

“As the makers of the Constitution were vigilant enough that there might be a situation when the politics of the country will enter into the worst and at that time just to keep the public fundamental rights upheld it is very much required that there is no compulsion or any obligation for resignation, otherwise gravest repercussions may arise by repeating the same modus operandi for making any minister resign,” according to Mr Prasad’s PIL.

The plea sought the court to expedite its determination, noting Delhi’s extraordinary governance during Arvind Kejriwal’s detention, which was linked to suspected political motivations and false inferences in the liquor policy case.

“The Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, won 62 of the 70 seats in the 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly election. Also, in the prior Delhi Assembly election on February 7, 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal, won 67 out of 70 seats with an absolute majority. “The above ratio demonstrates that Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s governance of Delhi is an unprecedented move in India,” Mr. Prasad’s appeal stated. The petition emphasized constitutional safeguards and the need to ensure government continuity notwithstanding the Chief Minister’s legal situation.
Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister, is in judicial detention in connection with the suspected Delhi excise policy scandal.

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