Court issues summons to AAP on internal democracy
(Case No.: CS/18/15/15 – Heard on 30.01.2015)
Taking cognisance of a civil suit filed by Vimal Yadav, a volunteer of Aam Aadmi Party, on the issue of lack of Swaraj and internal democracy in the party, a Patiala House court has issued summons to the party’s senior leaders.
Yadav has alleged in his case that the party has strayed from the path of Swaraj and is brazenly violating its own constitution. The case was heard today and summons was issued to Aam Aadmi Party. The next date of hearing is Monday the 2nd of February.
In his suit, Yadav has asked the court to quash the appointment of all office-bearers at all levels, declare the national executive and the political affairs committee illegal, direct the original national council to hold elections afresh for various positions. and constitute various bodies at district, state and national levels in accordance with the provisions of the party’s constitution instead of illegal air-dropping of office-bearers from the above as done till now.
Stay demanded on Ashutosh, Dilip Pandey, Durgesh Pathak
The suit, filed with the help of Rakesh Agarwal who fell out with Arvind Kejriwal in November 2013 on various issues, has specifically asked for staying the appointments of convenor, secretary and treasurer of Delhi state executive committee during the pendency of the case. The petitioner has pointed out that it is not clear if the illegal appointment of Dilip Kumar is to the post of secretary or treasurer. He signs as treasurer on the audited accounts but claims to be the secretary since January 2012 on his Linkedin profile – ten months before the party was formed. This, he said, has made the party a laughing stock. A decision on whether Ashutosh, Dilip Pandey and Durgesh Pathak, office-bearers of Delhi state executive, should be barred from functioning will be taken on the next date of hearing on 02.02.2015.
Hypocrisy on Women and Youth issues
Vimal Yadav has alleged that the party has adopted a hypocritical attitude towards women-security and youth issues. He said that though the party held its first “Delhi Dialogues” on the issue of women-security, it has only one woman in its national executive whereas the constitution mandates minimum seven women. It has also fielded only 6 women in the elections which is less than 1 in 10, thus showing the lack of importance for women in the eyes of the party leadership, alleged Yadav.
Similarly, he has stated in the suit, the national executive has no student in it whereas the constitution mandates minimum five students. The party had held its second “Delhi Dialogues” on the issues of youth but refuses to give them representation in decision making in spite of constitutional provisions. This renders the national executive itself illegally constituted.
Yadav has annexed a copy of the party’s constitution and the list of national executive members in support of his contentions.
Internal Lokpal has ceased to exist
The suit has also raised questions on the very existence of the party’s internal Lokpal. Quoting provisions of the party’s constitution, the petitioner says that it was constituted as a 2-member body from the very beginning. Each member automatically retired at the end of each year as per the constitutional provision. Since more than two years have elapsed, both members had automatically retired by November 2014, leaving the internal Lokpal without any members and therefore dud. The petitioner has complained that he wanted to approach the internal Lokpal with his grievances but there is no such Lokpal within the party. He alleged that a party which cannot allow its own Lokpal to survive to cannot be expected to bring Lokpal for the entire Delhi.
THE CASE MAY HAVE serious consequences on the fortunes of the party in these elections. If the court finds merit in the arguments and grants interim relief, it will expose its internal conflicts, contradictions between rhetoric and reality, and raise doubts on the legality of its various bodies and office-bearers. Swaraj and Lokpal are at the very core of Aam Aadmi Party. If the court rules against the party on the core issues, its very existence will come under a huge dark cloud.
It may be recalled that Arvind Kejriwal has constantly come under attack on the question of lack of internal democracy and dictatorship. Rakesh Agarwal, a long-time associate of Kejriwal who runs Nyayabhoomi NGO and was instrumental in mobilising auto drivers for the party, was the first to raise the banner of revolt against Kejriwal in November 2013, followed by the likes of Shazia Ilmi, Yogendra Yadav, Shanti Bhushan and others.
The case is likely to bring into question the party’s anti-corruption plank when the party itself has failed to comply with its own constitution and left its internal Lokpal to die.
Vimal Kumar Yadav (9717376002)