Delhi Riots: HC Stays Tahir Hussain’s Termination from EDMC
“We argued that the order by the EDMC is illegal on two counts,” Tahir Hussain’s lawyer Rizwan tells The Quint.
Delhi High Court judge Najmi Waziri stayed the disqualification of former AAP councilor and UAPA accused Tahir Hussain from the East Delhi Municipal Corporation in a hearing held on 6 November. Hussain’s lawyer Rizwan argued that his termination was illegal.
Tahir Hussain was arrested on 5 March after his name came up in Delhi riots cases. He has been named as an accused in FIR 59, which probes the alleged conspiracy behind the February violence, where the anti-terror law UAPA has been invoked. Other than that, he has been booked under FIR 65 which investigates Intelligence Bureau official Ankit Sharma’s death and FIR 101 which investigates the violence in and around his residence in Chand Bagh. He was also booked by the Enforcement Directorate in March 2020 for the alleged funding of the February violence.
Read our coverage of the Delhi Police’s investigation into the riots here.
In light of the cases, Hussain was suspended by AAP on 27 February. Six months later, on 26 August, the EDMC moved an order terminating his membership on the grounds that he had missed house meetings in January, February, June and July 2020.
On What Basis Was Tahir Hussain Terminated?
Speaking to The Quint about what happened in court on 6 November, which was the first hearing in the case, Tahir Hussain’s advocate Rizwan explained the basis on which Hussain was terminated based on court proceedings from today. He said:
“The EDMC had disqualified him on two accounts, one they are saying that just because he has not attended successive meetings. This is for the month of January and February, then there were no meetings in the months of March, April and May and then again in June and July. They passed an order on 26 August terminating his membership.”
Back in August, when the proposal of Hussain’s termination was passed, Nirmal Jain, EDMC mayor, cited the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act and said, “In a house meeting of the EDMC, we have passed a proposal to terminate his membership on the grounds that he skipped at least three successive House meetings without informing the corporation,” Hindustan Times reported.
However, does missing three successive house meetings qualify for a termination?
What did Hussain’s Lawyer Argue in Court?
Rizwan moved a writ petition in his client’s name on 2 November in the high court, to challenge Hussain’s termination.
“We argued that the order by the EDMC is illegal on two counts. Firstly, I (Tahir Hussain) was arrested on 5 March in the Delhi riots cases, so I was obviously not able to attend the meetings. Secondly, the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957, Section 33 (ii) states that I have to miss attending meetings for ‘three successive months’. Nowhere does it say three successive meetings, but says meetings for three successive months. So the EDMC’s order itself is wrong and illegal on these grounds,” he said.
The relevant section of the DMC Act of 1957 reads: “If during three successive months, a councilor is, without permission of the Corporation, absent from all the meetings thereof, the Corporation may declare his seat vacant.”
“On the basis of these arguments the decision has been stayed for now. The next hearing on the case is on the 17 of March,” Rizwan added. The court issued notice to the corporation, represented by its standing counsel Gaurang Kanth, and sought its stand on the petition in the next hearing.
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