Aam Aadmi Party Minister Hussain lodges police complaint against Manjinder Singh Sirsa

“On July 2, I saw that Manjinder Singh Sirsa from his verified tweeter handle @mssirsa has posted that I was involved in instigating the crowd who were vandalizing the temple at Hauz Qazi in Chandni Chowk, Delhi-6,” Hussain wrote in the complaint.

“He also quoted a story which was published by a news website & tried to spread false rumors circulated everywhere by various social media platforms,” he added.

The complaint has been lodged at IP Extension police station in east Delhi.

Sirsa had lambasted Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) & one of his members in his tweet for joining the mob & vandalising the temple in Hauz Qazi area.

“When a mob was vandalizing the temple, AAP’s Minister Imran Hussain was seen provoking them. After the temple was vandalized, Arvind Kejriwal didn’t say a word regarding the matter. The one who speaks on every small & big issue, became absolutely dumb after this incident,” Sirsa said in a tweet.

“AAP has degraded to such an extent after losing in the Lok Sabha election, that now they are using their pathetic tactics & vandalizing religious places,” Sirsa had said in another tweet.

SC seeks EC reply on plea by 21 opposition leaders for verification of 50 pc VVPAT slips

The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear the plea of 21 opposition leaders, led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, seeking that VVPAT slips of at least 50 per cent of voting machines in each assembly constituency be checked randomly in the Lok Sabha elections.

The leaders from six national and 15 regional parties, claiming to represent 70-75 per cent of the population, have also sought the setting aside of the Election Commission of India (EC) guideline on random verification of one assembly seat.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that notice be issued to the EC, and the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) should depute an officer to assist the court in the matter.

The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, posted the matter for further hearing on March 25 and asked the ECI to file its reply in two weeks.

The parties include the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Aam Aadmi Party, CPI (Marxist), CPI, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Loktantrik Janata Dal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

“The petitioners are presidents/ leaders of 21 different national and regional political parties (six out of seven national parties and 15 regional parties) across the country electorally representing about 70-75 percent of the people of India,” the plea said.

It has sought quashing of the EC guideline which provides that random verification of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips shall be conducted in one polling stations in case of assembly election and in each assembly segment in case of Lok Sabha election.

The plea also sought, “a further direction to the election commission for random verification of at least 50 per cent electronic voting machines (EVM) using the VVPAT per assembly segment/ assembly constituency”.

The plea referred to the 1975 verdict of apex court in the case of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which held that free and fair elections are part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India.

It also referred to the 2013 verdict of Supreme court in the case of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy where it was held that paper trail for EVM are an “indispensable requirement” for free and fair elections.

“The impugned guideline issued by Respondent No.2 (Election Commission of India) hits at the basic structure of the Constitution by making VVPAT completely ineffective and merely ornamental in nature as it translates to an actual check on less than 0.44 per cent of EVMs in the country.

“The said Guideline, therefore, defeats the entire purpose of introducing VVPAT and renders the judgment and directions passed by this court completely otiose,” it said.

The plea further stated that the guideline amounts to taking away from the left hand what was given by the right and reduce the safeguards and substantive essence of the judgments of this Court to a nullity.

“The petitioners submit that a procedural or executive instruction in the form of guidelines cannot render the main substantive safeguard nugatory, more so where the latter traces itself back not only to a Constitutional provision but, indeed, to the basic structure of the Constitution,” it said.

The plea further stated that the directions are being sought for giving effect to the judgment of this court declaring VVPAT as “integral and intrinsic to free and fair elections which, in turn are part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India”.

Naidu, the lead petitioner, had declared in February that the parties will be moving the apex court against the use of EVMs.

The move comes after the leaders of the opposition parties met at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence.

The parties had raised apprehensions in a meeting with the EC in February about the credibility of EVMs, although the poll panel has denied allegations of machines being tampered with.

The EC, while announcing the Lok Sabha election schedule, had said that mandatory checking of EVMs and VVPAT will be done on the basis of one polling station for each Lok Sabha constituency.

Earlier, Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot last year had approached the apex court for conducting VVPAT verification at least 10 per cent of randomly selected polling booths in each assembly constituency to ensure free and fair elections in MP and Rajasthan last year.

However, the apex court, which was dealing with other poll issues ahead of the assembly polls in MP and Rajasthan had refused to go into the VVPAT issue in its judgement delivered on October 12, 2018 saying these issues were dealt by the apex court in earlier petitions and orders have been passed.

Allowing AAP MLAs to summon witnesses could prolong the office of profit matter, says HC

New Delhi:The Delhi High Court on Thursday said allowing 20 AAP MLAs, facing allegations of having held office-of-profit, to summon witnesses in the disqualification proceedings before the poll panel could lead to prolonging the matter beyond their tenure, expiring in 2020.

Justice Sunil Gaur said the idea was not to “stop” or “curtail” the rights of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, whose appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries led to the allegation against them, “but to ensure it (the proceedings) does not get prolonged”.

“If allowed (to summon witnesses), it (proceedings) will cross 2020,” the court said, adding that the answers the MLAs wish to “elicit” from the witnesses can be obtained through an application made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The MLAs are seeking summoning of witnesses before the Election Commission (EC) to show that they have not received any “actual” benefit from their appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries.

“This information you can receive under RTI. There is no need to summon witnesses. Move an application under RTI to ascertain whether actual benefit was derived,” the court said.

Senior advocate KV Vishwanathan, appearing for the MLAs, said the summoning and examining of witnesses can be made time bound to ensure the matter does not get prolonged.

The lawyer also said that witnesses were required to be summoned as the EC, while perusing the material and documents before it, has observed that there was potential for benefit.

To this, the court said it was “factually incorrect” on the part of the EC to make such observations at the present stage of the proceedings.

“These observations of the commission were not called for. They can be deleted. They were not required to comment upon the documents at this stage. That would happen in the final order,” it said and reserved its decision in the matter.

The court was hearing a petition by Delhi Law Minister and AAP MLA Kailash Gahlot and others challenging the EC’s September 25 decision rejecting the legislator’s plea to summon government officials as witnesses in the office-of-profit matter pending before the poll panel.

The court, while listing the AAP MLAs plea for orders on November 16, also discharged the complainant Prashant Patel from the instant proceedings before it.

It said that Patel, represented by advocate Kaushal Sharma, was not required in the present proceedings as it pertained to summoning of witnesses.

The poll panel had earlier recommended disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs based on Patel’s complaint.

The EC, represented by senior advocate Arvind Nigam, contended that whether the benefit was actual or potential, both are grounds for disqualification and added that it has all the material pertaining to appointment of the MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.

EC had on January 19 this year recommended the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs, accused of holding offices-of-profit as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015. This was done soon after they were elected to the Delhi Assembly.

On March 23, the high court had set aside the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs by the poll panel for holding ‘office-of-profit’ and had termed the recommendation as “vitiated” and “bad in law”. It had directed the EC to hear the issue afresh.

In September 2016, the high court had ruled against their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.

Apart from Gahlot, the other MLAs including Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, were earlier disqualified by EC.

Apart from them, AAP legislators Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh were also disqualified by the poll panel.

SC: LG or CM? Who is responsible for clearing mountains of garbage in Delhi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and the Delhi government to clarify by tomorrow who could be held responsible for clearing the “mountain loads of garbage” in the national capital — those reporting to LG Anil Baijal or to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The top court’s direction came days after its verdict on the power tussle between the Lieutenant Governor and the Aam Aadmi Party government in which it held that the LG has no independent power to take decisions and is bound by the elected government’s aid and advice.

“Now, we have the advantage of the verdict. There is mountain load of garbage in Delhi, particularly in Bhalswa, Okhla and Ghazipur. We would like to know who is responsible for clearing the garbage those answerable to the Lt Governor or those answerable to the Chief Minister,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

At the outset, the bench asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, and the counsel for Delhi government, under whose jurisdiction fell waste management.

“Under whose jurisdiction does waste management falls. Where is an affidavit on waste management policy? Who is responsible for clearing mountains and mountains of garbage in Delhi? Tell us by tomorrow,” the bench said.

Anand said she will file an affidavit by tomorrow on the issue.
“The affidavit in this regard should be filed by the concerned officer of both the functionaries by tomorrow. For this purpose, list the matter on July 12,” the bench said.
During the hearing, the court observed that Delhi is getting buried under mounds of garbage and Mumbai is sinking under water, but the government is doing nothing. It also slapped fines on 10 states and two union territories for not filing their affidavits on their policies for solid waste management strategy.

“You see, Delhi is getting buried under mountain loads of garbage and Mumbai is sinking. But yet, the government does not do anything. When the courts intervene, we are attacked for judicial activism. We are given lectures on separation of powers and encroachment of jurisdiction,” it said.
On March 27, the top court had said that days are not far when garbage mounds at the Ghazipur landfill site in Delhi will match the height of iconic 73-metre high Qutub Minar and red beacon lights will have to be used to ward off aircraft flying over it.

HC to Delhi govt: Ensure proper street-lighting in city

The Delhi High Court today directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the civic bodies to ensure proper street-lighting in the national capital on a plea alleging that the LED lights on public roads and streets of south Delhi were not functioning.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of the petition after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) informed it that according to a joint inspection by the civic bodies, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the manufacturer of the lights, the BSES and the petitioners, 97 per cent of the street lights were functioning.

“During the pendency of the matter, a joint inspection stands conducted. Parties have participated. Respondent 5 (SDMC) has submitted that 97 per cent of the lights were functional. Nodal officers from the Delhi government to look into the functioning of street lights and hold regular meeting with the petitioners. Ensure that proper street lights are provided. The petition is disposed of,” the bench said.

The petition was filed by south Delhi residents Manjeet Singh Chugh and Ravi Gopal Krishnan, alleging that the LED lights on the public roads and streets of south Delhi were either not working or not being maintained or replaced.

During the hearing, the petitioners had sought a third-party investigation into the condition of the nearly two lakh street lights.

“The street lights are improper. The illumination is inadequate and there is no proper earthing,” the petitioners had told the court.

They had also pointed out that several crimes were committed on the Delhi roads as they continued to be dark.

“There are electric poles and lights but they never work or are very dim. If they are properly maintained, many crimes can be averted,” the petition had said, adding that vast stretches of the roads remained dark, despite crores of rupees being spent on LED lighting.

HC closes defamation suit on kejriwal after he apologised to Arun Jaitley

The Delhi High Court today closed the Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed by Union minister Arun Jaitley after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal apologised to him.

Jaitley had filed this second defamation suit after Kejriwal’s former lawyer Ram Jethmalani allegedly “abused” him in open court during the proceedings of the original defamation suit against the Aam Aadmi Party chief and five other party functionaries.

Justice Manmohan allowed the settlement application jointly filed by Jaitley and Kejriwal and disposed of the suit following the AAP chief’s apology, which was accepted by the BJP leader.

The court accepted the written undertaking and statement of both the leaders and decreed the suit in accordance with the settlement application.

During the hearing, advocate Anupam Srivastava, appearing for Kejriwal, told the court that the matter was settled and Jaitley accepted the apology tendered by the AAP leader.

Senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar and advocate Manik Dogra, representing Jaitley, also said the dispute was settled by the parties.

The court noted that the settlement application was signed by the leaders as well as their advocates who undertook that their clients would abide by the undertaking given.

Another bench of the high court is scheduled to hear during the day Jaitley and Kejriwal’s settlement application in the first defamation suit.

Kejriwal had on March 19 opposed in the High Court the second Rs 10 crore defamation suit filed against him by Jaitley over the use of an objectionable word by Jethmalani. He claimed that he had never instructed his then counsel to use any scandalous words against the minister during recording of evidence.

During the cross-examination of the minister on May 17 last year before Joint Registrar, Jethmalani had used a term Jaitley found objectionable.

AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption as the president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), a post he had held from 2000 to 2013.

Jaitley, who had denied all allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and five other leaders of his party, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation.

Delhi HC sets aside LG order cancelling bungalow allotted to AAP

Delhi HC sets aside LG order cancelling bungalow allotted to AAP
Delhi HC sets aside LG order cancelling bungalow allotted to AAP

The Delhi High Court today set aside an order of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) cancelling the allotment of a bungalow to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the heart of the capital, saying no reason was given for the action.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru remanded the matter back to LG Anil Baijal to pass a reasoned order within eight weeks after hearing the political party.

The court said the April 12 order cancelling the allotment did not say which law or rule has been violated.

It told the central government that if there is a policy for alloting accommodation to political parties, it has to be applied uniformly.

The court also kept in abeyance two consequential orders passed by the Public Works Department of the Delhi government on June 13 rejecting the party’s request for alternative accommodation and directing it to pay dues of over Rs 27 lakh towards the market rent of the property up till May 31.

According to AAP, represented by senior advocate Arun Kathpalia, the party was allotted bungalow number 206 at the Rouse Avenue here on December 31, 2015.

Thereafter, on April 12 this year, AAP received a communication informing it that the LG has cancelled the allotment of the bungalow on the ground that it was contrary to law and the rules, the petition filed through advocate Aaditya Vijaykumar, said.

AAP, in its plea, also claimed it was being singled out for such action as other parties are enjoying accommodation allotted to them in the heart of the national capital.

The party had contended that as per the central government’s policy, all registered political parties are entitled for an accommodation.

During the arguments, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and the central government standing counsel said an accommodation was offered to the party in Saket in South Delhi, but AAP had refused to accept it.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC questions maintainability of plea against Speaker’s order

Delhi HC questions maintainability of plea against Speaker's order
Delhi HC questions maintainability of plea against Speaker’s order

The Delhi High Court today questioned the maintainability of a plea by two persons challenging the Delhi Assembly Speaker’s order sending them to jail for throwing pamphlets and sloganeering in the House.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri wondered how a habeas corpus plea, as filed by the two, can be heard by it when the rules under which the decision was taken by the Speaker have not been challenged.

The bench also said that if the Constitutional validity of the rules are challenged then the plea may have to go before another judge or bench.

It gave the petitioners, represented by advocate Pradeep Rana, time till tomorrow to decide what course of action, including amendment of their plea, do they wish to take.

The two persons, Jagdeep Rana and Rajan Kumar Madan, who were sitting in the Visitors Gallery, had hurled pamphlets and raised slogans demanding resignation of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

The two have claimed they were allegedly thrashed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs.

The two have alleged that the Speaker’s June 28 decision was taken without hearing them and therefore, it was “absolutely illegal and violates the principles of natural justice” and have sought their immediate release.

Appearing for the Speaker, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra said the Speaker need not have heard them as the incident of “breach of privilege and contempt of the House” occurred in the presence of all legislators.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC to examine validity of panel report on ads

Delhi HC to examine validity of panel report on ads
Delhi HC to examine validity of panel report on ads

The Delhi High Court today agreed to examine the validity of a Centre-appointed panel’s report recommending that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) be made to pay an amount of Rs 97 crore that the Delhi government had spent on advertisements.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva issued a notice to the Centre, the Delhi government, the Lieutenant Governor (LG) and Congress leader Ajay Maken seeking their stand on the AAP plea against the report of the three-member committee, set up to regulate government advertising.

“If the report goes, everything goes,” the court said while listing the matter for hearing on August 8.

The AAP has challenged the report, based on which the LG had ordered the recovery from the party of Rs 42 crore which the Delhi government had paid for the advertisements.

The LG had also directed that the outstanding amount of about Rs 55 crore, owed to advertising agencies, be paid by the party and not the government.

The party challenged LG Anil Baijal’s order, the demand notice and the panel’s recommendation stating that these decisions had been taken without hearing their side.

The court said since non-compliance of the notice had no legal consequences for the present, the party could refrain from paying the demanded amount.

It said if the Delhi government or LG took any action for recovering the amount, the party could then defend itself.

It asked the AAP to withdraw its application seeking an interim stay of the demand notice, which the party subsequently did.

During the arguments, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who appeared for the Centre and the LG, agreed that no consequence for non-compliance was mentioned in the demand notice, but “the government would not be precluded from recovering the amount”.

The ASG also claimed that the “primary objective” of the petition was to stall the recovery proceedings.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Maken, contended that the ads issued by the AAP government were in violation of the Supreme Court’s guidelines regulating government advertising.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Arvind Kejriwal’s party, argued that the AAP was not heard by the panel or the LG before the recommendation and order were issued.

He also said if the same yardstick was applied to the Bharatiya Janata Party, it would have to pay “thousands of crores (of rupees)” to the exchequer.

In its plea, the AAP sought quashing the demand notice issued on March 30 by the Delhi government’s Department of Information and Publicity on the LG’s direction.

The LG had ordered the Chief Secretary of the Delhi government to recover the amount from the AAP within a month.

The committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, in its report of September 16 last year, had held that the Delhi government had spent the exchequer’s money on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Kejriwal and his party in violation of the SC guidelines of May 13, 2015.

( Source – PTI )

MCD elections: Court directs poll panel to seal EVM machines

MCD elections: Court directs poll panel to seal EVM machines
MCD elections: Court directs poll panel to seal EVM machines

A Delhi court today directed the State Election Commission to keep the EVM machines used in a south Delhi ward in the recent MCD polls intact and in a sealed condition on a plea challenging the victory of a BJP candidate by two votes.

District and Sessions Judge Asha Menon also sought response from the poll panel by May 19 on the plea filed by Pinky Tyagi of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who had lost to her BJP rival Anita Tanwar. While Tyagi had bagged 8,413 votes, Tanwar received 8,415.

According to advocate Gopal Jha, who appeared for Tyagi, the court asked the poll panel to preserve the register signed by the voters and the record of voting slips that may have been submitted by the voters before casting their votes till further orders so that there can be no tampering.

It, however, rejected the AAP candidate’s request to restrain Tanwar from taking oath as councillor of ward number 70-S, Chhattarpur and restrain South Delhi Municipal Council from holding the oath ceremony.

In her plea, Tyagi had alleged discrepancies in counting of the votes.

( Source – PTI )