Delhi LG office says govt misled HC on delay in excise policy list | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Delhi LG office says govt misled HC on delay in excise policy list

Feb 08, 2024 06:04 AM IST

An AAP government official said excise minister Atishi on Wednesday called the counsel and the excise department for a meeting

Lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena has said that the Delhi government’s counsel “misled” the Delhi high court and “committed perjury” by delaying the submission of a list of conforming and non-conforming wards in the city prepared in 2022 ahead of the implementation of the now-scrapped excise policy 2021-22, officials in the LG office said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant governor VK Saxena (PTI)
Lieutenant governor VK Saxena (PTI)

In a note to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the LG said: “I would like to reiterate... the Committee submitted its report on 18.08.2022, however, the file to this effect was received in my secretariat for the first time, only on 16.01.2024, after a lapse of almost 01 year and 05 months, even as the government counsel kept misleading the High Court on all occasions of hearing that the file was pending approval of the LG. This file moved unnecessarily between Departments on one pretext or the other resulting in unwarranted delay in disposal of this matter, even as the government counsels kept committing perjury in the name of the LG.”

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HT has seen a copy of the LG’s note.

Delhi government counsel Arun Panwar in a letter to law minister Atishi on Wednesday said: “...It was never ever remotely submitted before the court that the file has reached the offices of LG. This fact can be verified from the officers of department who used to appear along with me on each and every date of hearing.”

An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government official said excise minister Atishi on Wednesday called the government counsel and the excise department for a meeting to ascertain the reasons behind the miscommunication with the high court.

Officials at the LG office said that the LG approved the file for submission to the high court, and directed that the government in its affidavit provide a full disclosure that the delay in submission was completely attributable to the state government and action should also be taken against the advocates concerned.

The list was required to be submitted to the high court after the March 29, 2022, order of the court on a series of pleas filed by successful bidders of the excise policy challenging the validity of a circular issued by the Delhi Government dated 17 November 2021 regarding the implementation of the policy.

The dispute was regarding the bidders who were not able to open retail vends in “non-conforming” areas. They said that their applications placed them under the additional burden of approaching the respective municipal corporations for permissions, which added to their financial burden.

The case is not directly related to the ongoing probes by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate probes into alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of excise policy.

An AAP government official said in a statement: “The minister of law and finance, Atishi convened a meeting with the government counsel concerned to understand why the miscommunication has happened. It is imperative to ensure clear communication channels and resolve any issues promptly.”

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