The Delhi High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure with a Delhi Assembly committee, comprising legislators of the Aam Aadmi Party, for not completing breach of privilege proceedings against Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash despite questioning him for over four hours, PTI reported.
The chief secretary was served the breach of privilege notice for skipping a meeting on February 20, a day after he was allegedly assaulted by two Aam Aadmi Party legislators Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal.
“He has admittedly appeared before you [Committee of Privileges] for four hours,” said Justice Vibhu Bakhru. “What kind of proceedings are these? In four hours of questioning, you would have known what you have to do. If you have not completed your proceedings within this time, we will not allow it to go forward now.”
Lawyer Sudhir Nandrajog, who appeared for the committee, said Prakash’s presence was not required for the moment. But Bakhru told the panel it cannot schedule more hearings till September 18, when the court will take up the case again.
Last month, the court asked three bureaucrats, including Prakash, to appear before the Assembly committees that had issued them notices. Not doing so will amount to contempt of court, the High Court had warned.
The chief secretary, represented by senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and advocate Vivek Chib, said in his plea that despite repeated requests he has not been provided with the verbatim record and video recordings of the committee’s proceedings. Prakash claimed that without the records he cannot defend himself. against the charge of breach of privilege. The bureaucrat urged the court to put the committee’s proceedings on hold the proceedings he receives the records.
Nandrajog assured the court that the records would be filed in court before the next date of hearing on September 18. In response, the High Court said the bureaucrat’s apprehensions “do not survive”.
The Delhi Police have filed a chargesheet in the case, and named Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 11 AAP MLAs. The ruling party have alleged that the chargesheet is a result of the Centre’s “ongoing witch-hunt against the Delhi government, that was elected with highest-ever mandate in India’s electoral history”.