Millennium Post

Notice by Assembly Panel: HC grants relief to Chief Secy

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed a Committee of the Delhi Assembly not to insist on Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash appearing before it, saying that the panel's move to issue a notice to the top bureaucrat seemed to be an attempt to circumvent the process of law.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher questioned the move of the Delhi Assembly's Question and Reference (Q&R) Committee to issue a notice to Prakash, despite making a statement before the court on March 5 that it will not proceed in the matter concerning the bureaucrat till further orders.
Prakash had on Wednesday moved the high court after he was served a notice by the Q&R Committee asking him to appear before it to examine issues relating to Delhi Nagrik Sahkari Bank Ltd.
"After giving a statement on March 5, the complainant (Q&R Committee) immediately issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, asking him to appear before it. What was the urgency of issuing the notice? Ask your client (committee) not to do this. Tell your client that it seems as if you are trying to circumvent the process of law. Wait for the outcome of the main petition pending in the high court," Justice Shakdher told the counsel for the Committee.
The court suggested to the Committee to withdraw the March 6 notice, in which it had asked Prakash to appear before it on Thursday at 3 pm.
"As far as the Chief Secretary is concerned, you withdraw this notice and do whatever has to be done," it said.
To this, advocate Manish Vashisht, appearing for the Committee, said the panel cannot withdraw the notice as it has been issued by two other officers also. However, he assured the court that the panel will not ask Prakash for personal appearance, adding that some other staff from his office can bring certain relevant documents for the scheduled meeting.
Senior advocate Sanjay Jain, appearing for Prakash, contended that it was a clear case of attempt to browbeat and intimidate him.
He said the issuance of notice amounts to overreaching the process of law and it was a contemptuous act, as it should not have been done when the matter was pending.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, said that the counsel for the Committee had made a statement before the court on March 5 and the Committee should have stood by it.
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