ANI Photo | Excise Policy: LG takes cognizance of Delhi Govt’s ‘misleading’ statements to High Court

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has taken a strong exception to “misleading and false statements” made by the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi before the High Court relating to the preparation of an authoritative list of conforming and non-conforming wards in the city to implement the new Excise Policy 2021-22, which now stands rescinded.
According to Raj Niwas officials, Saxena expressed grave objection that, though the file relating to the approval of the report of a Committee on the issue was received at the LG Secretariat for the first time on January 16, this year after a lapse of one year and five months, when it was first moved for LG’s approval on August 18, 2022, the counsels representing the GNCTD kept telling the High Court from September 2022 until December 2023 that the file was pending with the LG.
Referring to the names of the advocates, Arun Panwar and Santosh Tripathi, the LG cited the orders of the High Court passed on September 12, 2022, August 18, 2023, and December 4, 2023, to buttress that they were indulging in perjury in the name of the Lt Governor, and their action also amounts to contempt of court.
He said the case is a sad reflection on the manner in which the state government counsels made false and misleading statements before the Court, projecting the Lieutenant Governor and his office in poor light in the eyes of the courts.
Further, the LG stated that these deliberate attempts at misleading the judiciary amount to maligning the constitutional office of the Lt Governor for petty ends.
Saxena said he has taken a dim view of the matter and would like that the state government, in its affidavit, give a full disclosure on the fact that the delay in submission was completely attributable to the state government and action should also be taken against the Standing Counsel for presenting facts in a twisted manner before the High Court, which amounts to lowering the dignity of this office apart from perjury and contempt of court.
He said, pending such action, the above-mentioned advocates should be debarred from appearing before the courts on behalf of the government with immediate effect.
While dealing with the file, the LG noted that at the time of receipt of the report of the Committee in the Department, the Excise Policy 2021-22 was in vogue, and had the matter been processed timely as per the prevailing provisions of that time, a decision could have been taken appropriately.
The erstwhile three MCDs have now been unified and the number of wards as well as their boundaries have also changed subsequently. Since the Committee was formed in context of the new Excise Policy 2021-22 prevailing at that time only, it is understood that the report of the Committee will have no bearing on the current Excise Policy.
Given the fact that the issue of the identification of conforming and non-conforming wards for the purpose of implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22 is still under litigation, the LG said the Excise Department is directed to submit the report of the Committee before the High Court and take appropriate action in accordance with the order dated March 29, 2022, of the High Court and subsequent orders”.
The strong remarks of the LG came while perusing the proposal of the Excise Commissioner dated August 18, 2022, to seek his approval for placing the list of 76 non-conforming wards as recommended by the Committee constituted by the then Lt. Governor on April 5, 2022, in pursuance of the Delhi High Court Order dated March 29, 2022.
Narrating the sequence of events in the matter, the LG said the file has been received in his secretariat for his approval on January 16, 2024, after the recommendation and approval of the Finance Minister on January 1, 2024 and the Chief Minister on January 16, 2024.
The proposal to seek the Lt Governor’s approval for placing before the High Court was first moved on 18.08.2022 and was moved down on file by the then Finance and Excise Minister, Manish Sisodia, on August 26, 2022, who again moved it down on October 11, 2022. Saxena said the same proposal has astoundingly come to him and is now duly approved by the current Finance Minister and the Chief Minister for his approval.
Maintaining that the Committee submitted its report on August 18, 2022, and the file to this effect was received in his Secretariat for the first time, only on January 16, 2024, he expressed anguish that the Government Counsel kept misleading the High Court on all occasions of hearing that the file was pending approval of the Lt Governor and the file moved unnecessarily between departments on one pretext or another, resulting in an unwarranted delay in the disposal of this matter.
The deliberate misleading of the Court resulted in the Court requesting the Lt Governor to take a decision on the report as expeditiously as possible, preferably within six weeks.
On December 4, 2023, the Court observed that “one year and nine months have passed and repeated adjournments have been taken by the respondent on the ground that the report from the Lt. Governor is still awaited. The Court further “renewed the request to the Lt. Governor to come to a conclusion on the issue.”
Four weeks were granted and next date of hearing was February 7, which despite LG having cleared the file has been moved further at the request of the Government Counsel

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