Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday said that 21 MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may face risk of disqualification under the rule of ‘Office of Profit’. The issue pertains to the appointment of 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries by the AAP government. While Delhi government has strongly defended their stand of appointing 21 Parliamentary Secretaries, saying they don’t hold any office of profit, Election Commission is looking into the issue.
Speaking to news and current affairs TV channel on Monday, Jung opined that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had taken a “risk” and “it was for all to see”.
“By definition when we look at the statutes of Delhi, then the office of the Parliamentary Secretary is defined as an office of profit. Schedule 7 says that Delhi can have one Parliamentary Secretary and that’s an office of profit,” Delhi LG told in his interview.
Elaborating further, Jung said if the Centre does not approve the Bill sent by the Delhi government to regularise the posts, the MLAs may be disqualified.
“That is true,” he said when asked if the MLAs may face disqualification.
Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri, journalist-turned-politician Jarnail Singh, Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar) are among the prominent party members who were made Parliamentary Secretaries by the Kejriwal government last year.
Incidentally, those MLAs sought more time from the Election Commission (ECI) on Monday to respond to a show-cause notice served over their appointment. The central poll panel issued them a notice on a petition filed by one Delhi-based lawyer demanding their disqualification alleging the MLAs were occupying the offices of profit in violation to the constitutional provisions.
As per the notice, the 21 AAP legislators were supposed to file their replies before the ECI by April 11.
On its part, Kejriwal government had last year passed legislation terming the posts occupied by these 21 MLAs out of the ambit of the ‘Office of Profit’. The bill is yet to be cleared, for it is still pending before the Centre. It was first sent to Delhi LG Najeeb Jung seeking his assent but LG Jung had instead sent it to the Union Home ministry.
(With inputs from the PTI)