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Updated March 27th, 2024 at 23:40 IST

Counterproductive if Kejriwal Runs Delhi Govt From Jail: Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi

Despite being denied bail, CM Arvind Kejriwal has been running the Delhi government from jail since March 21.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
Senior Supreme Court Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi
Senior Supreme Court Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi reacts to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's decision to run the government from jail. | Image:Republic
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New Delhi: Despite being denied bail, Arvind Kejriwal has been running the Delhi government from jail since March 21. Experts have been weighing in if it's legally possible to run a govt while being behind bars. Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and constitutional expert Rakesh Dwivedi also emphasised on the ongoing matter and said that it will be counterproductive if Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal doesn't step down from his post. 

Speaking exclusively to Republic about the constitutionality of the concept of the chief minister running the government from jail, Dwivedi said, “There is nothing in the Constitution of India, that explains the constitutionality of a CM running the government from jail. The framers of the Constitution didn’t contemplate something like this anywhere. So, on legal terms, it can’t be explained. But, there are several operational contradictions, which raises questions on how the government will run the system.”

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CM will not be able to meet his obligations under the Delhi services law

“Talking about running the government from jail, every government is collectively responsible for the practice of legislature, and hence, a chief minister should be such that, if necessary, he can call the session, can participate in the session and above all he should be in such a state that he can take part in the session. But if he is in jail then it is not possible that he can run the legislature and participate in it,” Dwivedi noted.

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“CM is different from other ministers because all ministers are appointed at the head of the chief minister. When the cabinet is formed, the CM has to call a cabinet meeting, decisions have to be made, what law will be made, what amendment will be made, these ideas are being discussed. But from jail, the CM cannot participate in any such cabinet meeting,” he asserted.

Talking about the ordinance passed on the transfer and posting of the officials of the Delhi government, the senior Supreme Court advocate noted that, while remaining in jail, the chief minister will not be able to meet his obligations under the Delhi services law.

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The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023, was passed by the parliament and the law entails the creation of an authority for the transfer and posting of officials in Delhi.

As per the ordinance, all transfers and postings of senior officers in the Delhi government will be done by a three-member committee headed by the Delhi chief minister and comprising the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary (Home) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, which eventually sends proposal to the Delhi LG for approval. “When the chief minister will be in jail, then there won’t be any participation of the CM of the elected government and only LG and the Chief Secretary will take the decision,” said Dwivedi.

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Rakesh Dwivedi emphasized, “Apart from this, there is a culture of dialogue between the CM and the LG to ensure mutual understanding, which has been happening in the earlier governments as well. The CM keeps meeting the governor from time to time like the Prime Minister meets the President at the national level. Now how can there be dialogue between them from jail and how will the legal requirements be fulfilled?”

Kejriwal arrested by ED in alleged Delhi liquor policy scam

Earlier, on March 21, the Enforcement Directorate arrested Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi liquor policy case. Immediately, after the arrest, the Delhi CM moved to the Supreme Court challenging his arrest. However, later he withdrew it, after the Apex Court ruled out bail to BRS leader K Kavitha, who was also arrested in the same case.

The Delhi CM was on March 22, produced before the Delhi High Court, from where he was remanded to the ED custody till March 28.

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Kejriwal has challenged the order of remand in the Delhi HC, however, his legal team was unable to get an urgent hearing. Following this, the case is now likely to be heard by the HC on March 27. The HC is on Holi vacation till March 27.
 

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Published March 27th, 2024 at 23:40 IST

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