Delhi HC waives penalty on lawyer seeking permission for CM Kejriwal to govern from jail

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS): The Delhi High Court, on Monday, waived a Rs 1 lakh penalty previously imposed on a lawyer who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking permission and facilities for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to govern from judicial custody.

Turning it down as not maintainable, the High Court had earlier this month imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on advocate Shrikant Prasad.

His PIL had sought to facilitate virtual conferencing arrangements for CM Kejriwal to engage with Cabinet Ministers to ensure uninterrupted governance.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P. S. Arora directed Prasad to engage in community service as per the directions of Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA).

Prasad had filed an application seeking waiver of the costs, acknowledging his mistake and admitting that the PIL was legally flawed.

His counsel informed the court of Prasad's history of filing bona fide petitions in various courts, including the Supreme Court. Prasad also expressed willingness to undertake community service in lieu of the financial penalty.

While waiving the costs, the court ordered that any future petitions filed by Prasad in any court must include a copy of the dismissed PIL and the order issued on May 27.

Prasad’s PIL had also sought to restrain media houses from sensationalising news about the CM's potential resignation and the imposition of President's Rule in the national capital.

The court had earlier observed that since CM Kejriwal has already filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court challenging his arrest by ED and that the top court is considering the issue of interim release, no orders for allowing him to interact with Cabinet Ministers through virtual conferencing is called for in the PIL.

The bench had said that it can neither impose censorship by directing the media to not air views nor stop political opponents from making statements calling for Kejriwal's resignation.

The PIL had targeted Virendra Sachdeva, BJP Delhi President, alleging that his protests and statements create undue pressure for CM Kejriwal's resignation, disrupting peace and traffic flow with politically motivated intentions.

The bench had rejected the PIL with a Rs 1 lakh fine to be deposited with AIIMS.

The court had criticised the PIL asking: “What do we do? Impose an emergency? Impose censorship or martial law? How do we pass gag orders against the press and political rivals?”

Prasad's petition stressed the commendable track record of Delhi's governance, particularly in the education and healthcare sectors over the past seven years. It contends that the present circumstances in the national capital violate fundamental rights under Articles 21, 14, and 19 of the Indian Constitution.

Asserting that neither the Constitution nor any law prohibits ministers, including Chief Ministers or Prime Ministers, from governing from jail, Prasad's plea stressed the urgency of the matter, citing the need to ensure continuity in governance for the welfare of people.



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Title: Delhi HC waives penalty on lawyer seeking permission for CM Kejriwal to govern from jail

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