Excise Policy case: Fresh PIL filed in Delhi HC seeking Kejriwal’s Removal as CM over Arrest by ED

A fresh Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court, seeking the removal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal from the position of Chief Minister.

The petition, filed by Hindu Sena President, Vishnu Gupta, says that the situation after Kejriwal’s recent arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam constitutes a breach of constitutional trust mandated by the Constitution.

Kejriwal’s ED custody was extended till April 1 by a Delhi court on Thursday, as it held that there were “sufficient reasons”.

The high court on Thursday also dismissed a similar PIL seeking Kejriwal’s removal as the Chief Minister, saying there is no scope for judicial interference, and that it is for the other wing of the government to examine the same in accordance with the law.

Gupta’s petition, however, argues that under Article 164 of the Constitution, a Chief Minister’s dismissal is warranted if they act in a manner that undermines the rule of law or breaches constitutional trust.

Furthermore, it alleges that since Kejriwal’s arrest, the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi has failed to convene cabinet meetings, thereby disrupting the constitutional framework and hindering the functioning of governance.

The petitioner contends that Kejriwal’s eligibility to continue as Chief Minister ceases upon his arrest, citing the seriousness of the charges against him under both the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Despite the absence of explicit provisions in the Constitution for such circumstances, the PIL argues that constitutional courts have the authority to intervene to ensure the integrity of administration and governance.

“The Constitution of India did not visualise a situation where in the event of arrest, the Chief Minister can run his government either from judicial custody or from police custody, ” it said.

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The crux of the PIL revolves around whether the Governor possesses the discretion to dismiss a Chief Minister in an extraordinary situation such as arrest, given the Constitution’s silence on the matter.

“…substantial Question of Law which arises for consideration by this Hon’ble Court is as to whether the discretion in the matter of appointment of Chief Minister by the Governor includes the power to dismiss the Chief Minister in an extra-constitutional situation like the arrest of the Chief Minister. Because the Constitution of India is silent on such a situation,” it said. (IANS)

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