The Delhi High Court has directed to not take any coercive steps against the Secretary of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Bhagwan Singh till May 3 in pursuance to a notice issued to him by the Committee of Privileges of the Delhi Assembly.

The Bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh issued a notice to the government seeking its stand on the matter and directed the petitioner to appear before the Committee of Privileges.

Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy appeared for the petitioners and Senior Advocate Sudhir Nandrajog appeared for the respondent-State.

Background of the case

As per Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (Act) 10 persons or aldermen were to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to the MCD, but certain issues were raised pertaining to the said nominations by the Committee on Petitions of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

A Complaint was filed against the petitioner by the Chairperson of Committee on Petitions regarding an alleged breach of privilege during its sitting.

The petitioner was asked to appear before the Committee on Petitions, but neither did he appear before the committee, nor he submitted the record sought.

Thereafter, the Committee on Petitions wrote a letter to the Assembly Speaker and raised grievances against the conduct of the petitioner, following which a notice was issued by the Committee of Privileges. Against this notice, the petitioner has approached the High Court.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that as per Section 2 (1)n of the Act, the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi I.e., the Administrator nominated the ten persons. Therefore, there was no irregularity in the appointment of the nominated persons- Alderman.

On the other hand, on being asked by the Court about the power of the Lieutenant Governor to nominate such Alderman on his own or on the aid and advise of Council of Ministers of the Government of NCT of Delhi, the Counsel for the respondent submitted that it is pending before the Supreme Court.

The High Court noted that “The Respondent has also filed an application challenging the maintainability of the present petition itself. In the application, various legal questions have been raised, including as to whether any writ petition can be entertained in respect of proceedings before the Committee of Privileges.”

Considering the issues raised before it, the High Court asked the parties to file a reply within a period of two weeks and a rejoinder, thereto, be filed within two weeks thereafter.

Accordingly, the matter was listed for further hearing on May 3, 2023.

Cause Title- Bhagwan Singh v. Government of NCT of Delhi

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