New Delhi, April 17: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition asking to restrain the AAP government from paying Rs 1.22 crore to senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a defamation case slapped on him by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra refused to entertain the plea, saying this issue has already been pending before the Lt Governor.
“The LG is already seized of the matter. If the authorities are not taking any action against the issue raised by you, then only you can move the court,” the bench told the petitioner, advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava.
“There is no need of court’s interference. Don’t file unnecessary PILs (public interest litigations). Don’t waste court’s time,” the bench remarked. Srivastava later withdrew his plea from the court.
The lawyer asked that Delhi government be restrained from paying the fee to the lawyer from public money.
The plea also sought a direction to the Delhi government and Lt. Governor to immediately withdraw the December 21, 2016 file which approved the legal bills of Jethmalani towards professional services rendered to Kejriwal in the defamation case.
Jethmalani has been appearing for Kejriwal in the Rs 10 crore civil defamation suit filed by Jaitley against Kejriwal and five other Aam Aadmi Party leaders relating to alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he headed it.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had directed the General Administration Department to clear the bills of Jethmalani. However, the Delhi government’s Law Department had said the bills could not be cleared without Lt. Governor’s nod.
Kejriwal had earlier said that he wanted the taxpayers to foot legal fee of Jethmalani as it was not his personal case. Jethmalani had also said that he was ready to represent Kejriwal in court for free after Delhi government sought Lt. Governor Anil Baijal’s approval for the bill.