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HC seeks responses of Centre, AAP govt on Chief Secy's plea

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre, the Delhi government, Lieutenant Governor and others on a plea filed by Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash challenging the notice by the Delhi Assembly's Privilege Committee directing him to appear before it for skipping a meeting called by the panel.
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.
However, the Committee of the Delhi Assembly assured the Delhi High Court that it would not take any coercive action against the Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash for skipping meetings called by the panel.
The assurance from the privilege committee came after the High Court made it clear that the matter before it should not be taken in view of the Chief Secretary seeking legal remedy before it.
After taking instructions from the competent authority, the counsel appearing for the Delhi Assembly Speaker, the Question and Reference committee and the privilege committee, said that the meeting, scheduled on Monday regarding the privilege notice issued to Prakash, has been deferred till further orders.
The HC maintained that sending such notices is to add fuel to fire, pointing to the fortnight-long standoff between the Delhi government and the bureaucracy, that started with Prakash allegedly getting "assaulted" at the residence of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal by two AAP MLAs.
Anticipating 'breach of privilege' proceedings against him if he failed to appear before the panel, Prakash approached HC last week with the intent to get the notice quashed.
However, the Assembly panel accused Prakash of lying before the court and said that they would also initiate "forgery proceedings" against him for misinforming the court about the objective of the meeting.
Claiming that the notice had nothing to do with the tussle between the bureaucracy and the political executive, AAP MLA from Greater Kailash Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged on Sunday that the Chief Secretary was trying to divert attention from the Delhi bank fraud involving Rs 100 crore and trying to protect those involved in the scam.
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