In a huge revelation by Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal today, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena was found abusing his office to interfere in the administration of justice. Speaking at a press conference, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal held that prior to AAP winning the major battle in the Supreme Court in the MCD mayor case, the LG forced his way to appoint the same lawyer, Tushar Mehta, for both the opposing parties in the case – the LG Office and Delhi Government. He argued that this must have happened for the first time in the history of the country that the same lawyer appeared for two opposing parties in the case.
Notably, Aam Aadmi Party through its Mayor Candidate Dr Shelly Oberoi has filed a case in the SC over various unconstitutional practices being followed in the mayoral elections sanctioned by the office of Delhi’s LG. Giving its verdict in AAP’s favour on Friday, the three-judge SC bench issued the following directions :
-At the first meeting of the MCD, an election shall be initially held for the post of Mayor and in that election. Members who are nominated shall not have the right to vote
-Upon the election of the Mayor, the Mayor shall act as Presiding Authority for conducting the election of Deputy Mayor and members of Standing Committee, at which also the prohibition on the nominated members to vote shall continue.
-Notice convening the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation shall be issued within 24 hours. The notice shall indicate the first meeting of the Municipal Corporation at which the election of the Mayor should be held.
Elaborating on this latest expose of the actions of Delhi’s LG, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said that this misuse of power by the LG should shock the citizens across Delhi and the country. He added that he wanted each citizen to know what happened before the case was heard in the Supreme Court, and explained that the LG tried his level best to influence the case even before it was heard in the Supreme Court. The CM said that the LG’s sole objective in doing this was to ensure that the truth does not come out in front of the SC.
The Delhi CM added that in this case the Delhi Government as well as the Office of LG were two different parties to the same case. This was because the views of both these parties were very different. The steps that the LG had taken to ensure a BJP mayor would get elected irrespective of people’s mandate, were considered to be illegal and unconstitutional by the Delhi Government. Therefore, the Delhi Government asked the secretary of the Urban Development department to appoint Shri Gautam Narayan as its lawyer in the case. The CM added that the Delhi Government has the option of picking a lawyer of its choice. But on the night of February 9th, the LG issued an order and sent it to the UD secretary.
Showing the instructions issued by the LG’s office on 9th February, the CM read out the second paragraph of this order, “The Lieutenant Governor has desired that the Urban Development department shall defend this petition. You should engage the services of Shri Tushar Mehta. Also, the counter affidavit in the case has been filed”. These were the three instructions of the LG to the UD secretary. The CM added that this is perhaps for the first time in the history of India that two opposing parties would have the same lawyer to argue the case, and one party is directing the opposing party to support his stance in the court. The LG is basically forcing the UD secretary to defend the misuse of office by the LG. In simpler terms, there are two parties fighting a case in court and one of the party basically says that it will choose the lawyer for the opposing party and file a counter affidavit on its behalf. The CM added that such a thing would never have happened earlier in the history of India.
The CM said that the UD secretary had basically been threatened and forced to follow the instructions of the LG in complete violation of law and principles of natural justice. The Delhi Government has earlier ordered the UD secretary to appoint Shri Gautam Narayan as its lawyer in the case. Although the official reports to the Delhi Government, he was given no choice as the LG has the power to “end his career”, so eventually the UD secretary issued a notification as per the orders of the LG and Shri Tushar Mehta was given vakalatnama by UD secy.
The CM asked what was the need for the LG to do such a thing, and explained that this was done by Shri VK Saxena as he feared being exposed in SC. The LG is aware that what he has done in Delhi is illegal and unconstitutional and therefore he once again decided to misuse his position to try and save himself. The CM asked why else would the LG decide the lawyer that would represent the Delhi Government and also get a counter affidavit filed that would be in his favour? This has been done to hide the truth from the people of India.
He further added that what the LG has done in this situation is a crime and lawyers have informed him that this is nothing less than a criminal contempt of court. “Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has conducted criminal contempt of court,” Shri Arvind Kejriwal asserted.
Shri Arvind Kejriwal also said that earlier in the day he wrote a letter to the LG and urged him to stop trying to control Delhi through unconstitutional means. He urged the LG to maintain the dignity of his constitutional office and reminded him that when a matter is in court, a person holding such a position should ensure that the truth can be brought about in front of the court.