Concerned with jurisdiction of LG, court on Jasmine Shah case


The Delhi High court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on the plea of Vice Chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) Jasmine Shah challenging the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor Vinay Kumar Saxena.
The Lieutenant Governor had asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to remove the petitioner from the post of Vice Chairperson of DDC. The petitioner has termed the action unfounded. Justice Yashwant Varma said, “Come back on Monday. We are only concerned with the jurisdiction assumed by LG Delhi. The scope of power has to be seen.”
Justice Varma directed the counsels for Delhi Government and LG to take instructions. He listed the matter for hearing on 28 November. Jasmine Shah’s petition is against the LG of Delhi Vinai Kumar Saxena’s recommendation asking Chief Minister to remove Shah from the post of Vice Chairperson of the Delhi Dialogue Commission and restrict him from discharging functions.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar and Dayan Krishnan appeared on behalf of Jasmine Shah.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar submitted that the action is completely unfounded. The LG has no power. The office has been sealed.
Justice Varma said, “Office is not his personal space.”
Rajiv Nayar further submitted that the appointment is by the decision of the government. The LG recognizes the fact by asking Chief Minister to take action.
The bench said that the order is only a recommendation.
Senior advocate Nayar argued that the action is completely unfounded. The LG has no power. There are three impugned orders. The court asked, “Has the Chief Minister acted on the recommendation?”
“No. It is a common order. In the interim, the office has been sealed,” Nayar argued.
Senior advocate submitted that one section and one rule have been used to exercise the power. They only talk about the duties of the Chief Minister in respect of furnishing information to LG.
The bench asked, “Is it a political office? No qualifications prescribed. What is the nature of the commission? Is it funded by the Government of Delhi?”
Senior advocate Nayar said, “I have listed my achievements in the petition.”
Justice Yashwant Varma remarked, “You may be very accomplished but what has been noted by LG also gets us thinking that people who hold honorary positions can continue with other activities.
Nayar argued that the Chief Minister is the chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission. The post of chairperson is coterminous with the government.
On the other hand, the counsel for the respondent said that Jasmine Shah has been paid an allowance and other benefits. The counsel also submitted that the office has been used for political activities.
Justice Varma asked the Senior Counsel Dayan Krishnan, “That is what is striking us is that once you take the position, whether the other activity should be permitted to continue.”
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.