New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today stayed breach of privilege proceedings initiated by an assembly committee against the PWD secretary for allegedly misleading a house panel on the issue of de-silting of the city drains. Also Read - Liquor Likely to Become Costly in Delhi. Here's Why

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also put on hold a panel’s notice to the bureaucrat asking him to remain present for the proceedings before the Committee on Privileges (CoP). Also Read - 15 BJP Workers Admitted to Hospital After Being Attacked by TMC Leaders in East Midnapur | Updates

Issuing interim orders, the bench said that on prima facie reading of the Conduct of Business Rules of the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory a panel of the House would be precluded from taking action in any matter which was being looked into a court of law. Also Read - Nirbhaya Case 16 December: 8th Anniversary, Nothing Has Changed As 'India's Daughters' Are Still Fighting For Justice

In the instant case, the entire issue of de-silting of drains is pending consideration before the high court, it noted.

The bench also issued notice to the Centre, the Delhi government and the office of Lt Governor on the plea of the bureaucrat, Ashwini Kumar.

Kumar, the Principal Secretary of Public Works Department (PWD) and the Vigilance Commission, has challenged the proceedings of breach of privilege initiated against him by the CoP on the ground that it was “without jurisdiction, malafide and wholly erroneous”.

The CoP examines notices of privileges and contempt of the House as referred to it by the Speaker.

In the instant case, the breach of privilege proceedings were initiated against Kumar for allegedly misleading the Committee on Petitions which was looking into a complaint claiming failure of the PWD and the municipal corporations in de-silting the drains in east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar.

Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Kumar, argued before the bench that as the issue of de-silting was being monitored by the high court, the Committee on Petitions could not have gone into it.

Agreeing to the senior lawyer’s argument, the bench said, “From a prima facie reading of the said rules, it would appear that the rules themselves preclude any action by the Committee on Petitions with regard to any matter which is the subject matter of adjudication before a court of law.

“Even as per the report relied upon by the Committee on Petitions, which was placed before the Legislative Assembly of Delhi government, it is an admitted position that the entire matter relating to de-silting of drains etc. is pending consideration before this court.”

Kumar, in his plea filed through advocate Vivek Chib, has also challenged the Committee on Petitions’ June 29 report that there was misrepresentation of facts before it.

The Assembly on July 3 had passed a resolution accepting its report and referring the issue of misleading of the panel to the CoP.

Thereafter, on July 28, the CoP had issued a notice of meeting to the petitioner to appear before it on July 31 at 3 PM.

Kumar has challenged all the orders starting from referring of the complaint to the Committee on Petitions till the notice of July 28 seeking his presence before the CoP, saying that all of them were “without jurisdiction and motivated by malafide considerations”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.