Delhi HC dismisses third petition seeking Arvind Kejriwal’s removal as CM

This is not like a James Bond movie where we will have sequels, says the high court

AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal leaves Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on 28 March (photo: PTI)
AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal leaves Rouse Avenue Court in New Delhi on 28 March (photo: PTI)

NH Digital

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday, 10 April, dismissed a third petition seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi chief minister after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the excise policy case.

A bench comprising acting chief justice Manmohan and justice Manmeet PS Arora pulled up the petitioner Sandeep Kumar -- a former AAP MLA who sought the removal of Kejriwal from the office -- for trying to involve the court in a "political thicket" and said it will impose costs of ₹ 50,000 on him.

The court said once it has dealt with the issue and opined that it fell in the executive domain, there should not be any "repeat litigation" as it was not a James Bond movie that will have sequels.

"This is not like a James Bond movie where we will have sequels. (Lt) Governor will take a call on this. You are trying to involve us in a political thicket, that's all," remarked the court.

Kumar claimed in the plea that he is a permanent resident of Delhi with voting rights in general election to Parliament, state assembly and other local body elections and that he was a former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Delhi and a former cabinet minister of the Government of Delhi (in the council of ministers) led by Kejriwal as the chief minister.

The plea sought a writ of quo warranto calling upon Kejriwal to show by what authority he holds the office of the chief minister of Delhi and seeks that after an inquiry, he be dislodged from the office with or without the retrospective effect. A writ of quo warranto requires a person to show by what warrant an office or franchise is held, claimed, or exercised.

Meanwhile, Kumar’s counsel argued that the plea involved the interpretation of the Constitution of India so far as the qualification of the chief minister is concerned.

On 28 March, the court had dismissed a PIL for Arvind Kejriwal's removal, saying that while the petitioner had failed to show any legal bar that prohibited the arrested chief minister from holding office, there was also no scope for judicial interference in such cases as it was for the other organs of the state to investigate the issue.

The bench asked the counsel whether the Supreme Court or any high court has removed any chief minister. When the counsel referred to a Supreme Court judgment in BR Kapoor vs Tamil Nadu case, the bench observed that the judgment being referred to was in a case where there was a conviction order first which was followed by disqualification of the person in question under Article 164 of the Constitution of India.

It also said it cannot declare a breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the national capital.

The counsel said that his client has the right to have a government as per the Constitution of India and if the same is not there where should he go other than the court.

Observing that the governor can take a call on the issue, the bench further said that the petitioner was trying to “involve” the court in a “political thicket”.

“We have said so in our previous order (where you can go). Do not make a political speech over here. Go to a corner of the street and do it over there. If you are aggrieved by the order, please go and challenge it in the Supreme Court. You are making a mockery of the system. Don’t reduce us to a joke. We are imposing a cost of Rs 50,000,” said the bench orally.

On 4 April, the court had refused to entertain a second PIL on the issue and said it was Mr Kejriwal's personal choice to continue as the chief minister and granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the lieutenant governor (LG).

On Wednesday, Mr Kumar's counsel argued that his case required interpretation of the Constitution and that on account of his arrest in a money laundering case, Mr Kejriwal was now not qualified to hold the office of the chief minister.

With agency inputs

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