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It’s His ‘Personal Call’:  Delhi HC Rejects Plea To Remove Arvind Kejriwal As CM

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NEW DELHI, April 4: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a PIL seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister following his arrest in the excise policy-linked money laundering case, saying it was his “personal call”.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P S Arora said it recently dismissed a similar PIL seeking Kejriwal’s removal from the chief minister’s post and thus, it cannot take a different view.

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“At times, personal interest has to be subordinate to national interest but that is his personal call. If he does not want to do that it is up to him. We are a court of law and have to go by the law. Your remedy does not lie here, it lies elsewhere. You go before the competent forum,” the bench said.

As the court refused to interfere in the matter, petitioner Vishnu Gupta’s lawyer said he has instructions to withdraw the petition and that he will approach Delhi Lieutenant Governor (LG) V K Saxena with his plea.

The court disposed of the plea while allowing the petitioner to withdraw it.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel said a constitutional deadlock has been created following Kejriwal’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the night of March 21.

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The court, however, made it clear that it cannot decide the matter and it is up to the LG or the President of India to take a call on the issue.

“How can we declare that the government is not functioning? The LG is fully competent to decide it. He (LG) does not need our guidance. We are no one to advise him. He will do whatever he has to in accordance with law,” the bench said.

It asked whether there was any precedent of a court imposing President’s rule or Governor’s rule.

“This is a practical issue, not a legal issue. We won’t go into this. We will declare that the government is not functioning? Governor is fully competent. He does not need our guidance. There is a discretion to take the call. Let’s not anticipate that they won’t discharge their functions. We can’t venture into this,” it said.

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It further said that constitutional morality will be considered by the LG or the President as they are the competent authorities and that everything cannot be done by the courts.

Gupta, in his plea, said that Kejriwal was guilty of breach of trust reposed in him by the Constitution.

“The parliamentary democracy is the basic feature of the Indian Constitution and the chief minister being the head of the State Government… is the repository of constitutional responsibilities and trust,” the plea stated.

After Kejriwal’s arrest, the high court had dismissed a similar PIL observing that the petitioner failed to show any bar in law which prohibits an arrested chief minister from holding office. The court had observed that there was no scope of judicial interference in the matter and that it was for the other organs of the State to examine the issue.

Kejriwal is in judicial custody till April 15. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail. (PTI)

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