New Delhi: Hearing the plea of Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash challenging a breach of privilege notice issued to him for allegedly skipping a meeting called by the panel, the Delhi High Court on Monday said that the Arvind Kejriwal government should calm their tempers.
The court also sought response of the Centre, AAP government, Lieutenant Governor (LG) and others on Prakash's plea. A single-judge bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Privilege Committee, the Question and Reference Committee, apart from the city government and the LG, while seeking their reply in two weeks.
It posted the matter to April 11, 2018, after Delhi Assembly's privilege committee agreed to defer the meeting till further orders.
The matter came up before Justice Shakdher after a division bench comprising justices GS Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, which heard the matter briefly, said that the plea should be dealt by a single judge bench.
At the outset, the HC expressed reservation on hearing the plea saying it will have to see whether it has the jurisdiction to deal with the matter or not.
"We need to address the issue of jurisdiction. We have to be very cautious while dealing with the issue. Today, it is the case of Delhi Assembly. Tomorrow it could be Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. We need to hear this matter in detail," the bench observed, PTI reported.
During the proceedings, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for the privilege committee, assured the bench that he has sought instructions, and he was ready to undertake that there would be no coercive action against the chief secretary if he attends the meeting.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the CS, however, said that the notice which was issued to him was a "clear case of malice"
The panel had on February 21, 2018, had recommended privilege proceedings against the CS for contempt of the House after he skipped the meeting called by the committee.
A committee of the Delhi Assembly had on Sunday accused Prakash of "lying" before the HC with regard to the breach of privilege notice.
Members of the Question and Reference Committee said that they would also initiate "forgery proceedings" against Prakash for misinforming the court.
An AAP MLA had said on Sunday, "We have learnt that the CS has moved the High Court challenging the breach of privilege notice served to him by accusing us of arm-twisting him in a matter related to alleged attack on him, but he is hiding the fact that the meeting was related to rising NPAs," PTI reported.
"The committee members challenge the CS to stick to the contents of his affidavit and not alter these contents. The chief secretary is clearly trying to shield those involved in the multi-crore scam, which appears to be on the lines of the Punjab National Bank scam," the committee had said in a statement.
Earlier, in February 2018, the Delhi CS had alleged that he was beaten up by AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan and another AAP MLA in the presence of Kejriwal at the CM's residence, where he had been called for a meeting.
The incident had led to the filing of an FIR by the CS and the 'March for Dignity', led by Prakash from the Delhi Secretariat to Raj Ghat. It had seen the participation of around 800 officers and employees holding candles in their hands.
(With PTI inputs)