New Delhi: In wake of the controversy on the approval of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Singapore which did not land on time, state Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot moved a plea regarding a comprehensive guideline on political clearances for visits abroad.
Justice Yashwant Varma briefly heard Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Gahlot, whose plea said that political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for personal foreign visits of state government ministers violates their right to privacy and the dignity of the constitutional office.
“The Chief Minister was previously denied permission to attend the C-40 World Mayors’ Summit in Copenhagen in 2019. The petitioner, who holds the portfolio of transport in the council of ministers had also requested clearance to visit London on the invitation of ‘Transport for London’ but there was not even a response from the concerned authorities in the Central government till the time the request became infructuous,” the plea read.
It said: “..the petitioner is directly impacted by the draconian and invasive regime requiring clearances for even personal visits abroad made by state ministers. Being an important stakeholder in the Delhi model of urban governance and managing a significant part of urban design, the petitioner is deeply interested in ensuring that the Delhi government feature in national and international fora.”
After Singhvi’s submissions, the court granted him liberty to file an additional affidavit backing his plea, and posted for further hearing for August 22.
A new war of words has erupted between the Centre and state, after Kejriwal finally dropped the plan to attend the World Cities Summit at Singapore following delay in permissions from the Lt Governor.
“Only the Central government can be held responsible for CM Arvind Kejriwal not being able to attend the World Cities Summit in Singapore and the subsequent humiliation the country has had to face. The file regarding clearance for Chief Minister’s visit was sent to the LG on June 7 itself. The LG sat on the file for one and a half months and returned the file on July 21. By then, not only had there been a lot of delay, but the deadline till July 20 to complete the travel formalities had also passed,” the Delhi government had said in a statement after the incident.