Appear before Delhi assembly panels, court tells chief secy
New Delhi: The Delhi high court told chief secretary Anshu Prakash and two senior bureaucrats on Friday to appear before two Delhi assembly panels, warning of contempt proceedings and reminding them that it had only prohibited the House from taking coercive action against them and had at no stage granted them exemption from appearance.
Prakash had been served a notice by the privileges panel for skipping a meeting on February 20, the day after he was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal.
The HC had asked the panels on March 9 not to take coercive steps against the IAS officers but on Friday the court pointed out: “It is the direction of this court that you will have to appear. If you fail to appear, forget about them (authorities), this court will issue contempt action against you.”
In its notice, the privileges committee had cited a complaint against the chief secretary by the question and reference (Q&R) committee. The Q&R committee, too, had served notice on two IAS officers — JB Singh, registrar of cooperative societies, and Shurbir Singh, chief executive officer of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board.
The chief secretary and the two officers had been called to the meeting by the Q&R committee to examine issues in which a reply from the Department of Cooperative Society was found to be incomplete and unsatisfactory. The issues related to Delhi Nagrik Sahkari Bank Ltd.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru reminded the bureaucrats that they were officers and would have to appear before all the committees after the Assembly Speaker’s counsel informed the court that the three officers were neither appearing before the committees nor providing the information sought from them. The Speaker alleged that the officers were taking undue advantage of the court’s earlier order restraining the authorities from taking action against them, and had become unresponsive. Justice Bakhru then made it clear that “the petitioners (bureaucrats) shall participate in the proceedings of the panels without prejudice to their rights and contentions”.
The court had earlier directed the committees not to take any coercive action against the bureaucrats till the pendency of the petitions and had also ordered that the proceedings of the panel meetings be video-graphed.