The Election commission has recommended disqualification of 20 MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), accuse of holding the office of profit. The issue has been under hearing since December 2016. Both the Congress and BJP had accused AAP of holding office of profit and thus demanding their immediate disqualification.
In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the Election Commission said by being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly, highly placed sources said.
Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had made the said appointments in March 2015, a month after forming his government in the national capital.
For these appointments, his government had passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. The amendment exempted the post of parliamentary secretary from the definition of office of profit with retrospective effect.
The party’s efforts, however, got a jolt when then President Pranab Mukherjee declined approval to the proposed amendment in June 2016 and the Delhi High Court set aside the order appointing the MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
The Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had passed the order after the counsel appearing for Delhi government “conceded” that the March 13, 2015 order was issued without taking concurrence or views of Lieutenant Governor.
Prior to that, the Centre had on July 13 opposed the appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries by the Aam Aadmi Party government, saying the post neither finds place in the Constitution, nor does it find a place in the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act of 1997, except for the post of Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister.