The hearing on a plea for speedy appointment of the Lokayukta could not take place on Thursday as two government lawyers fought over who was authorised to represent the Lt-Governor.
The Delhi government’s Additional Standing Counsel Gautam Narayan and Central government Standing Counsel Kirtiman Singh, both appeared before the bench of Justice V P Vaish, claiming to represent the Lt-Governor.
While Singh showed the court a “letter” from the office of the Lt-Governor appointing him to represent him, Narayan said as the standing counsel for the Delhi government, he was automatically the Lt-Governor’s counsel. “Is the Lt-Governor separate or will the counsel for the GNCT represent him?” asked Narayan.
The issue arose after the Central government counsel told the court that he did not have objections to the application filed by BJP leader Vijender Gupta to be involved in any decision-making regarding the appointment of the Lokayukta. Narayan also informed the court that he had filed a reply on behalf of the “respondents”.
With the Delhi government and the Lt-Governor named separately as parties in the case, the court asked Narayan to clarify whether the reply placed on record was “on behalf of Respondent 1 (Delhi government) or Respondent 2 (Lt-Governor)”.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government counsel also submitted that a “panel of names” would be sent to the Lt-Governor “within two weeks” for consideration for appointment as the Lokayukta.
“We had earlier written to the Chief Justice but she sent back the suggestion. We have written to the Chief Justice again,” said Narayan. He told the court that the Delhi government, in its affidavit, had “already stated that all constitutional authorities will be consulted”.
The bench has for now asked both the counsels to file the “notification” authorising them to appear on behalf of the Lt-Governor and will hear arguments on Gupta’s plea on September 17. The bench declined to issue any orders on the plea by Gupta on Thursday, observing that the GNCTD had “said that the process is in process. Let us see what happens”.