The Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDCD) Vice Chairman Jasmine Shah has been served a show-cause notice for allegedly misusing the government resources and public office for “furthering the cause of a political party as its spokesperson”.
According to a source, the notice served to Shah states that “every public servant needs to observe the principle of the neutrality and with his action, Shah has violated it…”
In September, BJP MP Parvesh Verma had written a letter to Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (LG) V.K. Saxena seeking Shah’s removal.
Following the complaint, the Delhi government’s Planning Department, the Administrative Department in-charge of DDCD, carried out an inquiry and found that the Shah has been attending TV programmes and addressing press conferences, contrary to the laid down norms for the conduct of a public servant.
According to an official source, the department has found “ample evidence” that indicated that Shah not only “accepted and performed the role of a spokesperson of the AAP, but also referred to himself as ‘we’, while identifying himself as a part of the ruling party and gave unqualified politically partisan statements amounting to misuse of public resources”.
The above finding of the department was sent to the Chief Secretary, who further referred it to the Delhi government’s Law Department, for its comments and vetting.
The Law Department gave its comprehensive opinion in this matter and opined categorically that Shah was a “Public Servant” and not working on an “Honorary Post”.
The Law Department also noted that Shah is under the service/pay of the government and is entrusted with the performance of the public duty.
It opined that “no public office is allowed to work and function beyond the terms of reference of its creation, and the terms of reference of the DDCD as created by the Cabinet headed by Arvind Kejriwal does not envisage the promotion of any political party”.
Accordingly, the Law Department has said that Shah had clearly breached the terms of reference of DDCD and “his action were beyond the terms of reference entrusted to DDCD”, the source said.
The reports from the two departments scrutinised by the Chief Secretary was sent to the LG, who instructed that Shah be given a show-cause notice to explain his “misconduct” before initiating any further action.