CM Not A Ceremonial Post, Must Be Available 24×7: High Court On Arvind Kejriwal

OB Bureau

New Delhi: The chief minister’s post is not a “ceremonial” one, and the incumbent must be ready to present himself at any time to deal with emergencies, the Delhi High Court observed on Monday.

“A Chief Minister’s post in any state, leave alone in a buzzing capital city like Delhi, is not ceremonial, and it is a post where the office holder has to be virtually available 24×7 to deal with any crisis or a natural disaster like flooding, fire and disease,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Arora.

“National interest and public interest demands that no person who holds this post is incommunicado or absent for a long stretch or an uncertain period of time. To say that no important decision can be taken during a Model Code of Conduct is a misnomer,” the court added while hearing a PIL.

The petition, filed by NGO Social Jurist, brought to the court’s notice lack of supply of educational material and other statutory benefits to students in Municipal Corporation of Delhi-run schools, even after the new academic session has commenced.

Meanwhile, stating that students in corporation-run schools are entitled to receive free text books, writing material and uniform, in accordance with their constitutional and statutory rights, the bench directed the Municipal Commissioner to incur the expenditure required for fulfilling the obligations forthwith without being constrained by the ₹five crore expenditure limit.

Kejriwal was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 in a money-laundering case linked to the Delhi liquor policy scam and sent to Tihar Jail from ED custody early this month.

However, Kejriwal has not refused to quit, with the party stating that he will run Delhi from jail.

The high court has dismissed several petitions seeking his dismissal from CM’s post, but made it clear that Kejriwal continuing in office despite his arrest amounts to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) “prioritising its political interests over national interests.”

OB Bureau

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