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Jasmine Shah's removal referred to President due to difference of opinion with CM : LG to Delhi HC

New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and other respondents have filed an affidavit on the petition of Jasmine Shah, stating that the matter has been referred to the President in view of the difference of opinion expressed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The matter is related to the recommendations made by the LG to the chief minister for the removal of Jasmine Shah from the post of Vice Chairperson of the Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission (DDCD). The Deputy Chief Minister had directed the Planning Department to rescind orders dated 17 November as the counsel for the petitioner had submitted in the court, the affidavit said.
The affidavit has submitted that the matter is presently under consideration by the President of India in accordance with the procedure enshrined under Article 239AA of the Constitution and until the President of India returns a decision upon the matter, it would be prudent for all the parties before this court to take no further action in the matter.

It has been also submitted that the LG reiterated that the matter stood referred to the President of India. Furthermore, the office of the LG also reiterated that pending the decision of the President, no further action could be taken on the matter by any authority, besides the President of India.

Justice Prathiba M Singh directed the petitioner to file the response to the affidavit on January 4. The matter has been listed on January 9, for further hearing.
This affidavit has been filed pursuant to the last order of the High Court.
Jasmine Shah has challenged the recommendations made by the LG to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his removal from the post of Vice Chairperson of the DDCD.

Notably, while the matter stood referred to the President of India, the Chief Minister by way of the order dated December 8, 2022, proceeded to summarily decide the matter of the Petitioner Sh. Shah on merits also, despite being aware that the matter was now required to be decided by the President of India, the affidavit stated.

The affidavit has also stated that the office of the LG on December 8 itself sent a letter to Principal Secretary (Planning) with a copy to the Chief Secretary and the offices of the Chief Minister and Minister (Planning).

It is submitted that despite such intimation of reference to the President on November 30, the Chief Minister on December 8, issued an order directing the Planning Department to recall the order of November 17, and all actions emanating therefrom, and copy for necessary action to the Minister (Planning), GNCTD and the Chief Secretary, GNCTD, and a copy of the same was also sent to the LG.
It is also submitted that by way of the above order, in complete contradiction to Article 239AA (4) and Rules 50, 51 and 52 of TBR, the Chief Minister proceeded to form an opinion on the matter of Jasmine Shah for a second time, despite such matter having been referred to the President of India.

By way of this order, in complete derogation of the noting of the LG dated 30.11.2022 the Chief Minister directed, "Therefore, I am of the view that the punitive action visited upon Sh. Shah is without any justification and requires to be recalled forthwith. It is my cherished hope and desire that the Hon'ble LG will be an active participant in the endeavour to convert Delhi into a world-class city and that any, implementation of initiatives conceptualised by the DDCD will be facilitated," the affidavit said.

On the last hearing on November 28, the court had said the case can't be decided without a counter affidavit on record.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Delhi Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) submitted that the Aam Aadmi Party govt in Delhi has refused to accede to LG Vinai Kumar Saxena's request for the removal of Vice Chairperson Jasmine Shah from the post. The planning department has been directed to rescind the orders against him.

On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain in instructions submitted that Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has sent a file with notes to Lieutenant Governor.
Jain had also told the court that the LG's order against Shah has not attained finality.
During the hearing the senior counsel, Rajiv Nayar had argued that the LG has asked the CM to take the decision, meanwhile, on the night Shah's office was sealed.

The court asked, "What is the function of the commission?"
The court for the respondent submitted that it is nothing but a think tank of Aam Admi Party (AAP).
On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the commission's function is to take broad policy decisions.
Justice Yashwant Varma had said, "But allegations are that you were campaigning..."
The LG has accused Shah of misusing public office for "personal political activities," in gross violation of constitutional principles of neutrality. His office was also sealed. (ANI)

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