Centre grants political clearance to Gopal Rai to travel to NY for Columbia India Energy Dialogue, HC told

The Centre Friday told the Delhi High Court it has granted political clearance to Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai to travel to New York from September 15 to 21 to attend Columbia India Energy Dialogue.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed Justice Subramonium Prasad that political clearance has been granted for Rai’s travel in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case but it should not be made a precedent.

While recording the submission made by the law officer, the high court disposed of Rai’s petition in which he sought quashing of the central government’s order denying him political clearance to travel abroad for the programme.

The Centre, which was against granting clearance to the petitioner during the first half of the day when the matter was taken up, informed the court about the development in the post-lunch session.

The Ministry of External Affairs had said in its September 12 letter that it has examined the proposal and declined political clearance as the “visit from Government of NCT of Delhi would not be appropriate as India is being represented at the Columbia-India Energy Dialogue by Shri Suman Kumar Bery, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog (Ministerial-rank)”.

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Rai sought permission to travel to the US city from September 15 to 21 to attend the programme being held on September 18 where he has been invited as one of the speakers.

Rai, represented by Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi and advocate Arun Panwar, said his official request to attend the event was rejected assigning “arbitrary and malafide” reasons.

“The invitation is specific for different persons representing different stakeholders and does not intend to confine delegates at national level only for the formal representation of the country, therefore the reason cited herein above is nothing but a colourable exercise of power and accordingly bad in law,” the petition said.

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