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Delhi Assembly panels urge judiciary not to ‘interfere’ in House work

Their statement comes after several bureaucrats, against whom the Assembly panels had initiated action, recently got a stay from the Delhi High Court.

delhi Updated: Oct 28, 2017 23:43 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
delhi,delhi news,AAP
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators Saurabh Bhardwaj and Madan Lal, who are heading the Petition and Privileges committees of the Delhi Assembly, on Saturday, urged the judiciary not to “interfere” in the proceedings of House panels(PTI)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators Saurabh Bhardwaj and Madan Lal, who are heading the Petition and Privileges committees of the Delhi Assembly, on Saturday, urged the judiciary not to “interfere” in the proceedings of House panels. The leaders added that the Assembly would appoint a counsel so it has representation in court.

Their statement comes after several bureaucrats, against whom the Assembly panels had initiated action, recently got a stay from the Delhi High Court.

With the officers frequently approaching courts, Bhardwaj said that the Assembly would appoint its lawyers so that it has proper representation in court. “We request the HC to respect the separation in the powers of judiciary and legislature which is clearly mentioned in the Constitution. We urge the court not to interfere in House proceedings,” he said.

Recently, Public Works Department (PWD) principal secretary Ashwani Kumar had approached the HC which had stayed the “breach of privilege proceedings” initiated by the Privilege Committee of the Delhi Assembly. Chief secretary MM Kutty had also got a stay from the court on a show cause notice issued by an Assembly panel.

The leaders expressed surprise that the Central government had taken a contradictory stand in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court on House committees. “The attorney general, appearing before the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, last week stated that courts should not interfere in the functioning of committees constituted by the Parliament and legislatures of states,” Bhardwaj said.

However, an additional solicitor general, appearing for the Central government in the Delhi High Court, took a contradictory stand and stated that the Centre has no objection to the court staying House committee proceedings, Bhardwaj added.

Speaking on the show cause notice issued to the PWD principal secretary by the Delhi High Court on Friday, he said the directive was “exactly in line” with fixing accountability of the executive, which the Assembly committees had been seeking over the past few months.

“The HC’s decision to issue a show cause notice proved that the accountability of delinquent officials was required to be fixed. The Assembly Committee on Petitions, in its report presented to the House in June, had found that the officials had lied about desilting of drains before monsoon, and it has now been proved that the same officer had lied to the HC as well,” he said.

Privileges Committee’s chairperson Madan Lal alleged that the officers “are running away from their responsibility”.

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 23:39 IST