New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday declined the Delhi government’s request to restrain Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) chief Mukesh Kumar Meena from dealing with the anti-corruption department or even entering the office.
Justice V.P. Vaish refused to pass an interim order on the Delhi government’s plea seeking to restrain Meena from entering the premises of the ACB and “interfering” in its activities, but asked him to “act in accordance with law”.
The court also issued notice to the central government, seeking its response by August 11, on the ACB’s appointment as also on the main petition that challenged the Centre’s notification holding that Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has discretionary powers on appointments and transfers to key bureaucratic posts in the Delhi government.
Meena was appointed the ACB chief by Jung on June 8, superseding ACB chief S.S. Yadav, despite objections from the Aam Aadmi Party government.
The face-off between Jung and the Delhi government headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has resulted in the ACB now having two chiefs.
During the hearing, senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that Meena has been “misusing his powers” and threatening officials of the ACB and the vigilance department.
She argued that to ensure the ACB is allowed to function smoothly, Meena be restrained from entering office and interfering in the ACB activities.
Jaising said the order appointing Meena was issued bypassing the chief minister. “Prior to issuing order, the Lt. Governor did not consult with chief minister and/or council of ministers,” she said, adding: “ACB was set up more than 45 years ago and has been directly under the control of the Delhi government.”
The ACB is headed by an additional commissioner of police and there is no sanctioned post of joint commissioner of police in it, she argued.
The plea filed by the Delhi government said: “S.S. Yadav is presently posted as additional commissioner and head of the ACB. Meena has been directed to look after and is sought to take over the work of a non-existent post and the order is accordingly patently void.”
“This itself shows how an order has been hurriedly issued by the Centre without application of mind, apart from the fact that the said order was issued without jurisdiction and in mala fide exercise of power,” it added.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the central government, said that ACB was a police station and since police fell within the central government’s purview, it was empowered to post someone to head it, and Meena was a joint commissioner rank officer and not some inspector.