Delhi Lt Governor declares invalid panel of lawyers appointed by AAP govt

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s decision was illegal and asked him to “follow the Constitution”.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.(HT File Photo)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.(HT File Photo)
Updated on May 21, 2018 09:55 PM IST
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Press Trust of India, New Delhi | ByPress Trust of India

Citing alleged procedural lapses, Lt Governor Anil Baijal has declared as “invalid” the panel of fourteen lawyers appointed by the Delhi government for appearance in cases before Delhi high court.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday attacked Baijal, saying his decision was completely illegal and asked him to “follow the Constitution”. The AAP chief said the L-G should do something constructive for once, instead of rejecting every proposal of the AAP government.

The panel scrapped by the L-G included prominent lawyers like Indira Jaising, Rebecca Mammen John, Colin Gonsalves, among others.

In his written communication to chief secretary Anshu Prakash last week, L-G’s Principal Secretary Vijay Kumar said the orders regarding the panel of lawyers had allegedly been issued without obtaining the approval of the Lt Governor.

“These (orders) have also not been issued in the manner specified under Section 44 (2) GNCTD Act and have not been authenticated in the manner provided under Section 44 (3) of the said Act...,” it stated.

Following the direction by the L-G office, the chief secretary has written to principal secretaries and secretaries, stating “Therefore, all concerned may kindly note that the said orders (regarding empanelment of lawyers) of November 29, 2017 and January 18, 2028 have not been validly issued in view of the material infirmities....”

The chief secretary has also marked the copy of his order to pay and account offices of Delhi government for further action, resulting in non-payment to these lawyers.

The move may trigger another round of tussle between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor’s office, which have been at loggerheads on a range of issues since the AAP came to power.

“All our advisors reject, all our lawyers reject, CCTV reject, doorstep delivery of ration reject. LG Sahib, do something constructive, everything is reject reject reject? (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted in a mix of Hindi and English.

“LG does not have the power to reject any govt proposal. Under constitution, LG can only express his difference of opinion. This rejection is completely illegal, unconstitutional and without jurisdiction. LG shud follow constitution,” he said on Twitter.

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