Delhi High Court on Thursday observed that ‘nothing remains’ in the contempt plea against ACB chief M K Meena once the AAP government’s challenge on curtailing of powers of the anti-graft body has been dismissed. “Nothing remains in this. When the main petition has been dismissed, what remains,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said. The contempt plea was filed by AAP government alleging that Meena and the SHO appointed by him had not lodged an FIR against two officials of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) who were allegedly caught accepting bribe.
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Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for Meena, said “there was absolutely no willful disobedience” by the Chief of Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) who had acted in accordance with law by not lodging an FIR. The ASG said the DDA officials were central government employees and the ACB did not have powers to take action against them. Hence, Meena had not disobeyed any law.
He said the high court’s recent judgement, holding the Lt Governor as administrative head of Delhi and upholding the Centre’s notification regarding ACB’s powers, has settled the law and thus, “the contempt plea was infructuous”.
Delhi government senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra said that a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) had caught the DDA officials red-handed and had gone to ACB for lodging an FIR. He said that even the local police had refused to lodge an FIR in the matter inspite of an SDM asking them to do so and had let off the accused.
After hearing the arguments of both sides, the court said it would consider the issue and pass orders. In its contempt plea, Delhi government had also alleged that Meena had arbitrarily replaced the then SHO of ACB with another person. It had said that Meena had “willfully violated” the court’s June 29, 2015, order, asking the Lt Governor-appointee ACB chief to act in “accordance with the law”.