Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Delhi High Court to hear PIL against political parties holding positions as public servants in government offices

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The Delhi High Court will hear public interest litigation (PIL) pertaining to objections in the appointment of people holding important positions in political parties as public servants at various government posts.

The petition was filed by a lawyer Sonali Tiwary, who said that the principle of political neutrality of public servants prohibits them from taking part in political activities but there is a non-conformance to the above principle which propagating the beliefs of the political parties along with being a burden to the exchequer.

The PIL is listed before bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad for a hearing today.

The petitioner has given example of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra, who is also holding the post of the chairman of India Tourism Department Corporation, another example given was of BJP Parliamentary Board member Iqbal Singh Lalpura, who also is the chairperson of the National Minorities Commission.

The petitioner said that people who occupy such venerated offices are expected to maintain neutrality and remain impartial but holding any kind of official position within a political party negates this very purpose.

The plea also gives reference of the appointment of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Jasmine Shah as the vice-chairman of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi and Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee along with member Dr Chandrabhan Singh’s who has been appointed as the vice-chairman of the 20-point programme implementation and coordination committee in the state.

The plea talks about how the above mentioned people have been actively involved in political activities while holding the government posts….

The plea further talks about how these people being public servants as defined in the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 have failed to perform the public duty, and ultimately lead to exploitation of public resources.

The plea filed through says it is submitted that such actions of the public servants will erode the trust of the public in the public functionaries as public servants need to showcase a certain sense of neutrality in their actions and not act as mouthpieces of political parties.

It further points out that the political affiliation of a public servant would result in rampant misuse of a public office for the political gains .

The petition lists the Centre, the Delhi government, the state of Rajasthan and the four political leaders as parties.

It is requested in the petition that the Court may issue a writ of mandamus or any other order or direction to the respondents to remove the persons from their posts who have acted.

It has also requested for the formation of a committee for framing guidelines for appointment of persons holding official positions in political parties as public servants.

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