The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response from the ruling AAP government, police and Election Commission on a plea challenging a Rs 10,000 challan issued to an auto driver for sporting “I love Kejriwal” message on his three-wheeler.
The auto driver claimed the action stemmed from “political malice”. The matter has been listed for March 3, for further hearing.
The lawyer for the Delhi government and police told the court that time was required to examine why the challan for Rs 10,000 was issued and said a status report would be filed.
Meanwhile, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal targeted the BJP on the issue and appealed it to stop taking revenge on the poor.
“BJP is making false challans of poor auto drivers from its police. Their only mistake is that they have written ‘I love Kejriwal’. Such maliciousness against the poor is not right. I appeal to the BJP to stop taking revenge on the poor,” Kejriwal tweeted.
भाजपा अपनी पुलिस से ग़रीब ऑटो वालों के झूठे चालान करवा रही है। इनका क़सूर केवल ये है कि इन्होंने “I love kejriwal” लिखा है। ग़रीबों के ख़िलाफ़ इतनी दुर्भावना ठीक नहीं है। मेरी भाजपा से अपील है कि ग़रीबों से बदला लेना बंद करे। https://t.co/yoTIRXLp5S
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 28, 2020
The counsel for the Election Commission said the action was probably taken for violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) during which period political advertisements are prohibited.
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The Election Commission’s submission was opposed by the auto driver’s lawyer who contended that firstly it was not a political advertisement and even if it was, it would not be prohibited as it was displayed at the petitioner’s expense and not by a political party.
He said the model code of conduct does not talk of political advertisement out of an individual’s own funds.
According to the petition, the petitioner had displayed “I love Kejriwal” and “sirf Kejriwal” messages on his auto.
It has claimed that the action was taken without any advance notice by any government department prohibiting such a display.
It has also claimed the petitioner was “illegally” challaned under various provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act for allegedly violating conditions of his permit to operate an auto.
(With agency inputs)