What led to disqualification of AAP MLAs, Delhi HC asks EC

RSTV Bureau
File Photo of Aam Admi Party MLAs at Election Commission.

File Photo of Aam Admi Party MLAs at Election Commission.

The Delhi High Court has asked the Election Commission (EC) to state the facts behind its decision to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit by filing an affidavit. The central poll panel has this month disqualified the legislators who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which his ruling Delhi government has approached Delhi High Court seeking relief against the order.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar asked the poll panel to file the affidavit after the EC said it wanted to respond to some of the allegations made in the MLAs’ pleas challenging their disqualification from the Delhi Assembly.

The Commission also told the court that it would rely upon the opinion it gave to the President to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries.

In the course of proceedings, the bench said that the 250-page long synopsis, containing various documents, was very big and asked the EC to file a shorter one on affidavit. “A synopsis of 250 pages. It cannot be that big,” the court observed.

After the brief proceedings, the court listed the matter for further hearing on February 7 by when the MLAs have to file their responses to the EC affidavit. It had till then extended its interim order restraining the EC from issuing any notification announcing bye-elections.

The Delhi High Court has also allowed advocate Prashant Patel, on whose plea the EC had recommended the MLAs disqualification to state his stand on the MLAs’ pleas.

Earlier, on January 24, the High Court had refused to stay the Centre’s notification disqualifying the MLAs, but restrained the EC from taking any “precipitate measures” like announcing dates for by-polls.

It had earlier summoned the entire records pertaining to the proceedings leading to the recommendation of the EC for the disqualification of the 20 legislators which received the President’s assent on January 20.

The 20 disqualified MLAs 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 others are Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).

(With inputs from PTI)