The Delhi High Court listed a Writ Petition filed by Sandeep Kumar, former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Minister, seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from the post of Chief Minister before a Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan for hearing on April 10.

Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 in connection with a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy scam, is currently in judicial custody till April 15.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appeared for Kejriwal.

At the outset, the Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad inquired, "Who are you?"

The Counsel appearing for the Petitioner, responded, "I am a citizen of the country."

Justice Prasad asked, "Is it s PIL? Why is it listed here? How is it a Quo Warranto?"

Counsel replied, "No, my Lord! This is a Writ Petition, Quo Warranto...".

"Quo Warranto? What provision of law?" Justice Prasad further asked.

The Counsel submitted, "I'll explain."

Justice Prasad said, "Similar matters have been held in Court No. 1." "List the matter before the Chief Justice's bench, day after tomorrow," the Court ordered.

"You might not escape without cost, heavy cost," Justice Prasad remarked.

The Petition by Kumar contended that the unavailability of Kejriwal poses a challenge to the constitutional mechanism and that Kejriwal cannot fulfil his duties as Chief Minister from prison, as mandated by the Constitution.

"Article 239AA(4) of the Constitution provides for the Council of Ministers, with the chief minister at the head, to aid and advise the lieutenant governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the legislative Assembly has power to make laws. The aid and advice to the lieutenant governor are practically not possible without the chief minister being a free person available to render his aid and advice under the Constitution," the Petition stated.

The former AAP Minister has prayed, "Issue a writ of quo warranto against Respondent No. 1, i.e., Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the incumbent chief minister of Delhi, by calling upon him to show by what authority, qualification, and title he holds the office of the chief minister of Delhi under Article 239AA of the Constitution and, after an inquiry, dislodge him from the office of the chief minister of Delhi with or without the retrospective effect."

Pertinently. last week, the Court had refused to entertain a similar Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Vishnu Gupta, President of an organisation named Hindu Sena, seeking the removal of Kejriwal from the post of CM. The Bench has orally remarked at times personal interest has to be subordinate to national interest. The Court had also said that the remedy does not lie with this Court it lies with some other authority.

Last month, the High Court had also dismissed another PIL seeking the removal of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal from the post of Government of the NCT of Delhi. The Bench had orally remarked that there is no scope for judicial intervention; let the Executive examine it.

Cause Title: Sandeep Kumar v. Arvind Kejriwal & Ors. [W.P.(C)-5135/2024]