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Delhi HC dismisses 3rd plea seeking removal of Kejriwal from CM’s post

New Delhi, April 10: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Sandeep Kumar for seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from the post of Chief Minister of Delhi, also noting the frivolity of his petition.

Referring it to a recurring film sequel, the court expressed displeasure at being embroiled in what he termed a “political thicket”. The court stressed the need to deter such repetitive litigation by imposing significant costs on Kumar.

“This is not a James Bond movie sequel,” the court said.

When the plea came up before Justice Subramonium Prasad on Monday, he had said that it was nothing but a “publicity interest petition”. The court’s remark had come after a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan had refused to entertain a similar PIL last week. The petition, filed by Hindu Sena President Vishnu Gupta, claimed that the situation after CM Kejriwal’s recent arrest by the ED constitutes a breach of constitutional trust mandated by the Constitution.

Kumar’s plea marked the third unsuccessful similar petition, with the court imposing a hefty fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

On Wednesday, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P.S. Arora questioned the basis of Kumar’s plea and reminded his counsel of previous rulings rejecting similar petitions. Despite warnings from the bench, Kumar’s counsel persisted in arguing the case, prompting the court to assertively impose the fine.

Dismissing Kumar’s arguments and criticising him for attempting to politicise the proceedings, the court stressed its role as a judicial body and urged Kumar to refrain from turning the courtroom into a platform for political discourse.

Kumar defended his actions, stating that he approached the court in his individual capacity, not as part of a public interest litigation (PIL). However, the court remained resolute in its stance.

With the imposition of the Rs 50,000 fine, the court sent a clear message that such baseless petitions would not be tolerated, reaffirming its commitment to upholding the rule of law and judicial decorum.

Stating that CM Kejriwal is the ex-officio Vice Chairman of the State Disaster Management Authority under Section 14 (4) of the Disaster Management Act, who presides over the meeting of the state authority in the absence of its Chairman, Sandeep Kumar had submitted that the CM cannot discharge his duty on this count while in custody.

“A disaster may happen suddenly, at any time, and therefore the unavailability of the Chief Minister may result in paralysing disaster management in Delhi, which may affect the right to life of all the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

“It is submitted that the job under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 is an all-time job and no risk can be taken in this matter by leaving this to the fate of the Chief Minister, who is currently under judicial custody,” Kumar had said in his plea.

“The Chief Minister while lodged in jail has incurred an incapacity to carry out his constitutional obligations and functions under Articles 239AA (4), 167 (b) and (c) and proviso to sub-section (4) of Section 14 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and hence he can no longer function as the Chief Minister of Delhi,” the petition read.

The petitioner had also said that CM Kejriwal, while in jail, prevents the Lieutenant Governor from exercising his Constitutional obligations and functions under Article 167 (c) of the Constitution, which is identical to Section 45 (c) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, and for this reason also, he cannot continue in office.

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