Delhi HC questions AAP’s sit-in at LG’s office

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NEW DELHI, JUNE 19,
The Delhi High Court on Monday questioned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal whether his sit-in or ‘dharna’ at the L-G’s office was authorised by the Lieutenant Governor, saying such strike cannot be inside someone’s office or residence.
“If it is a strike or dharna, it has to be somewhere else. This can’t be called a strike. You cannot go inside someone’s office or house and hold a strike,” a vacation bench of Justices A.K. Chawla and Navin Chawla remarked.
The Bench was dealing with three different petitions – one seeking to declare the sit-in by Mr. Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues as unconstitutional and illegal, a second plea to end the alleged ‘informal strike’ by IAS officers, and a third plea by BJP leader Vijender Gupta against AAP’s sit-in protest.
The Bench did not pass any direction but made party in the case the IAS Officers Association of the AGMUT (also known as Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre who had on Sunday claimed in a press conference that they are not on strike.
“Why are you [the AAP government] sitting there? It has the semblance of a sit-in dharna. Who authorised them,” the Bench asked the government. Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for the Delhi government, said it was an “individual decision.”
Mr. Nandrajog said the AAP leaders were not preventing or blocking any official work inside the LG’s office.
He also contended that in Sunday’s press conference the IAS officers accepted that they are not attending meetings called by the Ministers.
The Central government claimed that the IAS officers were not on strike and urged the Bench to direct AAP leaders to vacate the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
The High Court has posted all the cases for further hearing on Friday.
One of the petitions, filed by advocate Umesh Gupta, has sought a direction to the IAS officers to attend meetings called by the Ministers of the Delhi government and perform their duties as public servants.
Mr. Gupta’s petition demanded “strict administrative action against all those IAS officers for violating the Central Civil Services/IAS rules of conduct.”
Another petition filed by Hari Nath Ram has sought direction for discharging the chief ministerial obligations and responsibilities as the entire functioning of the Chief Minister’s office of Delhi has been brought to a “standstill” since the sit-in started.
His petition has sought “comprehensive guidelines for legislative members not to indulge in acts of constitutional crisis including the strike for executive bargaining in the interest of justice.”
A fresh petition was moved by Opposition leader Vijender Gupta seeking direction to Mr. Kejriwal to return to work claiming that people of the State are suffering because of the dharna.
Mr. Kejriwal and his Ministers have been staging a sit-in at LG Anil Baijal’s office since June 11 evening to press their demands, including a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike.”
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was shifted to a hospital here on Monday due to failing health.
Mr. Sisodia was taken to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital from the Raj Niwas after his ketone level reached 7.4, following which doctors decided to hospitalise him, Aam Aadmi Party sources said. On Sunday night, Minister Satyendar Jain was moved to the same hospital after his health too deteriorated.

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