New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the AAP government who had authorised the sit-in led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the lieutenant governor’s office and observed that strikes or dharnas are held outside and not inside someone’s workplace or residence.
The observation by a bench of Justices A K Chawla and Navin Chawla came while hearing two petitions, one against Kejriwal’s protest and another against the alleged strike by IAS officers of the Delhi administration.
“Who authorised the strike/dharna (sit-in by Kejriwal)? You are sitting inside the LG’s office. If it’s a strike, it has to be outside the office. You cannot hold a strike inside someone’s office or residence,” the court said.
Responding to the query by the bench, senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, who appeared for the Delhi government, said Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues took the decision to protest in their individual capacity and they were empowered to do so under Constitution.
Nandrajog also told the court that the only direction that can be issued by the bench in these matters was to the IAS officers to attend routine departmental meetings held by the ministers.
He said an association representing the bureaucrats had admitted in a press conference yesterday that they were not attending routine meetings.
During the arguments, the Central government told the court that no IAS officers were on strike and urged the bench to direct Kejriwal and others to vacate Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s office.
Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta also moved the high court today against Kejriwal’s protest.
BJP MP Parvesh Singh Sahib, rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra and BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa are joint petitioners along with Gupta.
After hearing some arguments, the bench listed the matters for hearing on June 22 without issuing any interim directions.
It asked petitioner advocate Umesh Gupta, who moved a plea against the alleged strike by the bureaucrats, to make an association representing IAS officers as a party in the matter.
Umesh Gupta, in his plea, has sought a direction to the LG to ensure that the alleged ‘informal strike’ by IAS officers of Delhi is called off and they perform their duties as public servants.
Another lawyer, Hari Nath Ram, has filed a petition to declare the sit-in by Kejriwal and others — Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyender Jain — unconstitutional and illegal.
Kejriwal and his ministers have been staging a sit-in at the LG’s office since June 11 evening to press for their demands, including a direction to IAS officers to end their “strike” and action against those who have struck work.