Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Misuse of public money
Public money must not be spent by public figure to defend his or her personal case in the court of law. The eye brows have genuinely been raised over the bill for Rs. 3.42 Crore sent by the veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani to defend Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the case of personal suit filed against him by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his objectionable statement against him. Veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who is Kejriwal’s counsel in the defamation case filed against him by Jaitley, has reportedly sent bills for Rs. one crore in retainership and Rs. 22 lakh for each appearance in court to the Delhi Chief Minister. Jethmalani has made 11 appearances so far, leading to a total of Rs 3.42 crore. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has signed off on the bills and sent them for clearance to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who has sought the opinion of experts on how to proceed. Baijal’s move comes after the Delhi Government’s Law Department, responding to a note by Sisodia, said that Lieutenant Governor’s permission for clearing the bills was necessary. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has rightly sought legal advice from Law Department how to proceed on the matter. Kejriwal is the CM of Delhi. Delhi govt. has a team of lawyers. So when the Delhi govt. has a team of lawyers, why CM Kejriwal engaged one of the most imminent and costliest lawyers like Ram Jethmalani at the cost of public exchequer. It is a personal suit that Kejriwal is facing. There is no involvement of Delhi govt. It is the hard earned money of tax payers of Delhi. It is a simple matter that if you have issued objectionable statement against anyone, you should have to be prepared to face the consequences on personal level. Kejriwal has allegedly issued objectionable statement against Arun Jaitley in regard to the charge of corruption against him in DDCA. What is the interest of Delhi govt. in DDCA that Kejriwal has taken the issue so seriously and allegedly issued objectionable statement against Jaitley? It appears that the fact of the matter is that at that time CBI had raided Kejriwal's personal Secretary Rajendra Kumar's chamber in relation to the corruption cases against him. While searching Kumar's chamber, CBI took away some files from there. This incident made Kejriwal upset. He started issuing objectionable statements against Jaitley and the later filed a personal suit against him. Jaitley also filed defamation suit against four more AAP leaders with Kejriwal. Delhi govt. must not foot the bill of Ramjethmalani and Kejriwal must meet the legal expense incurred in his personal suit from his own pocket. Neither Kejriwal nor Arun Jaitley can meet his legal expenses from govt. coffers. This only shows the hollowness in the claim of high idealistic principle by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The public exchequer cannot be used by the public figures for meeting their personal ends. The matter must not be politicized in view the coming MCD elections in Delhi. If the public money is used to defend the public figure like Kejriwal to defend personal suit in the court, there will then be filed personal suit against political opponents on daily basis. As Kejriwal is habituated to describe all his rivals as corrupt and callous, a bunch of personal suit can be filed against him. And he will be defending himself at the Govt. expense. So, the bill of Ram Jethmalani must not be footed by the govt. of Delhi. Public money is only meant for public work. Defending Kejriwal as individual in the court of law by govt. money is not proper and valid. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s bid to have his legal bills footed from the government’s exchequer must be foiled and he should pay his legal fees from his own pocket.