States & UTs

    Delhi Min Gopal Rai moves HC against Centre’s order denying permission to fly New York for energy meet

    The Hawk
    September14/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    New Delhi: Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai has moved High Court seeking quashing of Centre’s order denying his official request to attend the Columbia India Energy Dialogue in New York on September 18.

    It is Rai’s contention that the Ministry of External Affairs’ order dated September 12 has been passed by assigning arbitrary and malafide reasons that “since the Govt. Official Shri Suman Kumar Bery, Vice Chairman, NITI Ayog, (minster rank) is going to represent at the Dialogue, therefore visit from Govt. of NCT Delhi is not necessary as India is already being represented.”

    He has sought the court’s interim direction to Centre to allow him to travel from September 15 to 21 to attend the above-mentioned Dialogue.

    The petitioner has said that it is a Dialogue by all the stakeholders, along with “Indian think tanks” to address the essential issues of energy consumption expected to grow about 1.5x in the coming decades, and therefore, citing the reason that India is represented by a bureaucrat (ministerial level) is “neither intended nor desired by the Global Energy Policy, an organisation holding the aforesaid Dialogue.”

    The plea says that the Centre has permitted other officers from different States to attend the programme, and the reasons given in the order denying permission are completely contradicted by these actions.

    Rai’s petition — filed through Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi and advocate Arun Panwar — states that he has also been scheduled to hold special remarks at the said Dialogue, and that Arvind Kumar, Special Chief Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Telangana Government is also a part of the programme, who has been selected as a speaker to speak on the issue of balancing energy, security and energy transition priorities in India.

    “This is demonstrated by the fact that the impugned order cites reasons that are contradicted by other actions taken by the Respondents. This clearly demonstrates that the impugned order is a colourable exercise of power,” the petition reads.

    It is Rai’s case that the invitation is specific for the different persons representing different stakeholders and does not intend to “confine delegates at national level only for the formal representation of the country,” and the reason cited by the Centre is nothing but a “colourable exercise of power and accordingly bad in law”.

    The petition says that the denial letter has been passed in a haste manner and without any application of mind, violating principles of natural justice.

    Justice Subramonium Prasad is likely to preside over the case on Friday.