Thursday, September 28, 2023

LG MCD row: High Court stays coercive action against MCD Secretary, issues notice to Delhi government

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The High Court of Delhi has directed the authorities concerned not to take any coercive steps against Bhagwan Singh, Secretary of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) till May 3, in pursuance to a notice issued to him by the Committee of Privileges of the Delhi Assembly.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh further sought response from the government on the matter, while directing the petitioner to appear before the Committee of Privileges.

The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, while Senior Advocate Sudhir Nandrajog appeared for the respondent-State.

According to Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, 10 persons or aldermen were to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the MCD, but certain issues were raised pertaining to the said nominations by the Committee on petitions of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

The Chairperson of Committee on Petitions had filed a complaint against the petitioner regarding an alleged breach of privilege during its sitting. The petitioner was asked to appear before the Committee on Petitions, but neither did he appear before the committee, nor did he submit the record sought.

The Committee on Petitions then wrote a letter to the Assembly Speaker and raised grievances against the conduct of the petitioner, following which a notice was issued by the Committee of Privileges. The petitioner moved the High Court against this notice.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that as per Section 2 (1) n of the Act, the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi or the Administrator nominated 10 persons. Therefore, there was no irregularity in the appointment of nominated persons or Aldermen.

The High Court asked the Counsel for the respondent about the power of the Lieutenant Governor to nominate such Alderman on his own or on the aid and advise of the Council of Ministers of the Government of NCT of Delhi.

The Counsel submitted that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

The Single-Judge Bench took in view the application filed by the Respondent, which challenged the maintainability of the present petition. The application further raised various legal questions, including as to whether any writ petition could be entertained in respect of proceedings before the Committee of Privileges, noted the High Court.

Listing the petition for further hearing on May 3, the Single-Judge Bench asked the parties to file a reply within two weeks and a rejoinder within two weeks thereafter.

(Case title: Bhagwan Singh vs Government of NCT of Delhi)

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