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Dayan Krishnan scores (another) win, Delhi HC issues showcause notice to ACB Chief

Smrithi Suresh

The scuffle between the Delhi Government and the Centre has been dragging on in various forums since a Single Bench of the Delhi HC held that the Anti-Corruption Bureau could act against Central Govt. employees. And today’s proceeding before the Delhi High Court was no different.

Justice Vaish today issued show cause notice to Anti- Corruption Bureau Chief Mukesh Kumar Meena on a contempt petition preferred by the Arvind Kejriwal-Led Delhi government. The Delhi government had alleged that Meena had acted in express violation of the orders of June 29th, issued by Justice Vaish in another writ petition.

Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan appearing for the Delhi Government, argued that Meena was instrumental in shutting down a 103 helpline of the ACB set up by the Chief Minister’s office. Due to this act, there were nearly 81 complaints received under the helpline that could not be addressed.

Dayan Krishnan
Dayan Krishnan

Krishnan further submitted that Meena was also responsible of removing CCTV cameras, “removing” the FIR book  from the ACB premises and not taking action on two DDA officials who were caught taking a bribe; all of which measured to a direct violation of the Court’s order of June. 

Krishnan went on to argue that the Meena should have acted according to the process of law.

“What happens to the common man if such a situation persists? Where will he go? A bureaucrat is not above the law and should operate according to orders of the court. He goes ahead and organizes a press conference without the prior approval of the joint secretary. Does he have the authority to post people on his own [Appointment of Brij Mohan]?”

Sanjay Jain
Sanjay Jain

Appearing for the Union (Meena’s appointment was effected by Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung), ASG Sanjay Jain argued that this was a case where the Government (Petitioners) held animosity towards Meena. He stated that the petitioners wanted him out of the office and for this purpose, they were even ready to withdraw work from him.

“Show-cause notices cannot be issued in a contempt petition like this. It can only be issued once the Court has taken cognizance of the issue. If a notice is issued today then it will be akin to sending out a punishment from the High Court.” 

The Bench, however was not swayed by this argument. When Jain requested permission from the Court to file written submissions in the issue before issuing showcause notice Justice Vaish commented,

“You (Union) are not a party to this petition. How can I allow you to file written submissions?” 

Despite repeated attempts by Jain to persuade the Bench to not issue notice, Justice Vaish issued a show- cause and adjourned the matter to August 4.

As is often said, when elephants battle it out, it is the grass that gets crushed. The present Delhi Government and Central Government are set to prove this saying correct as the continuous tussle over exercise of power in the Capital, drags on.