New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked for the response of the Center, the Delhi government and the Election Commission of India on a plea calling for the de-recognition of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for organizing and promoting the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi using funds from state coffers.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Amit Bansal issued opinions only to the three authorities and not to the chief minister and other ministers in the Delhi government.
He gave the authorities time to file their response to the plea of lawyer ML Sharma asking for instructions to withdraw the recognition of the AAP as a political party and to dismiss Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and others. ministers of the Constitutional Office due to an alleged willful violation of the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act in the interest of the general public.
“Keep your answer ready next time as to what you want to say about the issues involved in this brief petition,” the court said.
Lawyer Sharma said the state cannot be allowed to fund the Haj pilgrimage from the public treasury.
Lead attorney Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, opposed the appeal, arguing that it was a fully motivated and mischievous petition colored as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), and must be rejected with high costs.
He also said the decision had been taken to bar religious congregations amid the Covid-19 pandemic and that the Delhi government had banned the placement of pandals to avoid overcrowding, the chief minister simply had asked the media to cover the celebration of citizen participation on their part. residential homes.
Mehra said the government facilitating religious celebration is not new and it is done every time during Kumbh Mela and Amarnath Yatra, stressing that it is the solemn duty of the state to protect public health. .
“This is a malicious petition. An attempt is being made through this petition for a kind of community discord to be triggered, ”Mehra argued.
“Various governments at all levels… There is Kumbh Mela, Amarnath Yatra, Mansorvar Yatra. It is the solemn duty of the State and of the Union that people who have a certain faith, their public health be examined, that they receive good facilities as long as these yatras are there. It is a laudable objective, ”he added.
The advocacy, while seeking the registration of an FIR, also sought to state that the religious ceremony or the promotion or funding of religious work or a trust in any way by the public treasury attracts Articles 408 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC. . He also sought to declare this act illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.
The petition states that the AAP-led Delhi government hosted a Ganesh Chaturthi event on September 10, which was broadcast live on TV channels. He said that in terms of the constitutional mandate established by the Supreme Court, the state cannot promote religious celebrations.
The High Court had previously rejected Sharma’s plea seeking to outlaw the Delhi government’s decision to organize Ganesh Chaturthi from the Treasury and publish an advertisement, claiming the petition was filed in haste and without doing its homework. He granted him the freedom to file a new plea with appropriate assertions.