Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had cancelled the allotment of a property for AAP office.
The High Court has set aside an April order by Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal cancelling the allotment of a bungalow in the capital's Rouse Avenue for use by the Aam Aadmi Party as its office. The judge observed today that no reason was given for the cancellation and has asked Mr Baijal to pass a "reasoned order" within eight weeks.
The court also put on hold two orders by Delhi's Public Works Department in June this year, rejecting AAP's request for an alternative office and directing it to pay over Rs 27 lakh as market rent of the Rouse Avenue bungalow till May 31. Bungalow number 206 in Rouse Avenue, in the heart of Delhi, was allotted to AAP in December 2015 by the state government. The court also said the LG should meet AAP leaders.
Arvind Kejriwal has re-tweeted his party colleague Raghav Chadha, who said today, "LG's order cancelling the office allotment to AAP set aside by Delhi High Court. Has been declared ex facie illegal. Boom!"
AAP had moved court after the LG cancelled the allotment of the bungalow in April this year, acting upon a report by a three-member panel headed by former comptroller and auditor general VK Shunglu, which scrutinised decisions taken by the government of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and alleged "gross misuse of power" by it, red flagging among other things, what it called discrepancies in the allotment for the party office in December 2015.
The court said today that the LG's April 12 order cancelling the allotment did not say which law or rule had been violated. If there was a policy for allotting accommodation to political parties, it has to be applied uniformly, the judge told the Central government, which is represented in Delhi by the LG.
AAP has petitioned that it is being singled out for such action as other political parties like the RJD and Janata Dal (United) too have accommodation allotted to them in prime locations in the capital. It argued in court that the central government's policy entitles all registered political parties to such accommodation.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who represented the central government standing, told court that AAP was offered accommodation in Saket in South Delhi for its party office , but AAP had refused to accept it.
The Shunglu Panel was set up by Anil Baijal's predecessor Najeeb Jung last year to investigate Arvind Kejriwal's decisions after the High Court upheld the Lieutenant Governor's administrative powers in governing Delhi. Mr Jung had engaged in a bitter power tussle with Mr Kejriwal for months. He resigned as Delhi's LG in December last year.