The Delhi High Court, on Monday, 27 September, temporarily stayed an order that enforces a promise for rent payment of poor tenants by the Delhi government – as had been made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in March 2020, during the first COVID-19-induced lockdown.
On 22 July, the Delhi High Court had directed Kejriwal to abide by his promise. The single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh had noted that assurance given by Kejriwal is enforceable, both under the legal doctrines of promissory estoppel and legitimate expectations.
The court had further granted the Delhi government six weeks to frame a policy for the implementation of vow.
The state government had subsequently challenged the order. During the hearing on Monday, the legal counsel of the state government informed the court that Kejriwal's statement had not been meant as a promise.
In response, the court was quoted as saying by The Indian Express, “You have no intention to make payment but you made the statement. Should we record this?”
Opposing the Delhi government's appeal, advocate Gaurav Jain was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench, "It is very surprising that for such a small amount of rent, the Delhi government, which claims to have one of the highest budgets among states, they are refusing. There are six petitioners... How hard it is to formulate a policy?
A divisional bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh further asked the state government if it would be willing to pay part of the rent.
The bench then ruled that the single-judge order will be stayed till the next date of hearing, which is 29 November, Bar and Bench reported.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and Bar and Bench.)