PILs in HC question AAP’s funding, campaign strategy for elections

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SummaryChief Justice N V Ramana recuses himself from hearing plea, to be heard by a different bench Friday.

The Aam Aadmi Party came under attack in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday with two separate PILs raising questions about the party’s funding as well as its election campaign. Both matters were heard by the bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Manmohan.

The plea filed by advocate M L Sharma alleged that funds received by the civil society movement started by ‘Team Anna’ had been diverted for the use of a political party in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). It sought the registration of a criminal case against senior AAP members, including Arvind Kejriwal and Shanti Bhushan.

Chief Justice N V Ramanna, however, recused himself from hearing the plea. The case will be heard by a different bench Friday.

Sharma said ‘Team Anna’ had received contributions from Ford Foundation apart from other foreign groups and NRIs.

“...a direction may be issued to register a criminal case against respondents (AAP members) under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and conduct day-to-day trial with the supervision of the court...,” the plea, naming Kejriwal and others, said.

In a separate plea, East Delhi resident and a member of NGO Abhiyaan, Deepak Gupta, sought directions to the Delhi Election Commission, the government and police to take action against the “indecent populist measures” adopted by AAP.

According to the plea, the AAP campaign, aimed at “provoking the public initially to stop making payment of their electricity bills and then to illegally connect their electricity connections”. The plea said it had an adverse impact on “peace, harmony and sanctity of the pillars of democratic structure, including law and order”.

The High Court directed the petitioner to approach the Election Commission with the complaint, stating that complaints regarding election campaigning fell under the purview of the EC.

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