The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an urgent hearing of a petition that requested it to declare unconstitutional the sit-in of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office, PTI reported. Justices SA Nazeer and Indu Malhotra said the plea would be listed for hearing after the court’s summer vacation ends on July 2.
The top court’s decision came a day after the Delhi High Court rebuked the chief minister and his colleagues for the protest, asking them who had authorised it. Lawyer Shashank Sudhi, who appeared for petitioner Hari Nath Ram in the Supreme Court, said the High Court had posted the matter for hearing on June 22, and that in the meantime, the city was facing a severe water crisis.
Sudhi blamed the state government for creating a constitutional crisis and leaving the citizens “high and dry”. He asked the Supreme Court to initiate perjury proceedings against either Kejriwal or Baijal’s office for lying.
On June 11, Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Rural Development Minister Gopal Rai started a sit-in protest at Baijal’s office, alleging that Indian Administrative Service officers in the Capital had been on strike for the past four months. They sought Baijal’s intervention and accused the Centre of instructing the bureaucrats to hamper the Delhi government’s work.
The Aam Aadmi Party claims the officers have been on strike since Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash alleged that he was assaulted by AAP MLAs at Kejriwal’s office on February 20. The officers have denied that they are on strike while the AAP has rejected the assault charge. On Monday, an association representing the bureaucrats said they were ready to hold discussions with Kejriwal after he said he would ensure their safety and security.
Jain and Sisodia, who were hospitalised after days of being on hunger strike, are expected to resume work after being released from hospital, NDTV reported. Kejriwal and Rai, however, are still at Baijal’s office. “Honourable LG could not find eight minutes in eight days for the people of Delhi,” the chief minister tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Hope he finds some time today.”