HC seeks Centre’s response on plea challenging provision seeking permission for foreign visits

Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) V.K. Saxena and the Centre to file a response on plea by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot challenging the provision which requires State government ministers, including chief ministers, to seek political clearances from the Centre for personal foreign visits.

A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh, while dealing with the plea, granted last opportunity with four weeks’ time for them to file their response.

Gahlot had last year filed a court petition seeking broader guidelines for the authorisations necessary by elected constitutional authorities to travel abroad.

This came after the L-G refused to give clearance for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Singapore to attend the World Cities Summit.

“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 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,” the plea read.

A notice was issued by the court in August last year.

He had submitted that it breaches their right to privacy and that it is an “arbitrary non-exercise of power” and the same must be solved by appropriate guidelines.

The L-G had refused to give clearance to Kejriwal stating that the Summit was meant for city mayors and he has notjing to do with it, and in any case, the Delhi Government did not have exclusive right over urban governance in the city, as per the petition.

The matter has been listed for the next hearing on May 22.

20230123-190402

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