Misuse of power won't be entertained: BJP on office of profit

Brandon Parsons
January 22, 2018

The party has claimed its MLAs were not given an opportunity to defend themselves after the Election Commission, in June past year, made a decision to go ahead with the proceedings against them despite the high court setting aside the appointments in 2016.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday had recommended to the President that twenty AAP MLAs should be disqualified from the Delhi Assembly.

AAP has 66 legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, and thus the disqualification of 20 MLAs will not affect its majority.

On September 8, 2016, the high court had set aside the appointment of the 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

Otherwise we would have been nothing. The court had observed that the order to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries was given without the concurrence of the then Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.

The BJP was quick to question if the AAP government had any "moral right" left after the EC's recommendation to the President.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday announced a day-long bandh in Delhi on Tuesday in protest against the ongoing sealing drive by the BJP-ruled municipal agencies and the Centre's move to allow 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail. The poll panel takes a decision and sends its recommendation to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which is then accepted. "Ultimately, they disqualified our 20 MLAs". Parliamentary Secretaries assist Ministers with their work.

A petition filed by lawyer Prashant Patel sought the disqualification of the MLAs on the grounds that they were holding an "office of profit" as parliamentary secretaries.

The 20 MLAs disqualified include, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) - who is also a minister - Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).

The AAP had termed the EC's decision as "arbitrary" and taken in haste just days ahead of the retirement of Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti - on Tuesday. "We are expecting relief from the court tomorrow", said Madanlal. "It is an act of the Centre using constitutional institutions", she said.

If AAP fails to get reprieve from the courts, Delhi will have bypolls for the 20 seats.

This disqualification will lead to by-polls in Delhi.

Launching a scathing attack, Ajay Maken said that Election Commission should have taken the decision on December 20.

Of these 21 MLAs, Rajouri Garden legislator Jarnail Singh had resigned from his seat before contesting the Assembly elections in Punjab.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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