Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

EC recommends ouster of 20 AAP MLAs, HC refuses interim reduction

EC recommends ouster of 20 AAP MLAs, HC refuses interim reduction

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Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken said the Election Commission and the BJP delayed the disqualification of AAP MLAs to help them. "When they did not find anything against us, they today disqualified our 20 MLAs".

Aam Aadmi Party approached the High Court but got no relief from there.

Singh added that the letter of appointment given to the AAP MLAs when they became parliamentary secretaries did not mention that it was an office of profit.

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He also claimed that MLAs of other parties held offices of profit in states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. But former President Pranab Mukherjee had refused to approve the measure, and had referred a private petition in the matter to the EC. The Election Commission believes that 20 legislators come under the purview of "Office of profit".

Meanwhile, in a related development, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the MLA from Rajouri Garden seat said he will move to court to get Kejriwal disqualified for appointing the MLAs to the office of profit which led to their disqualification. "You are mortgaging a constitutional post like the Election Commission", AAP's Delhi unit spokesman Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged.

The ECI recommended their disqualification citing their appointed as parliamentary secretaries as "unconstitutional".

Sujit Dey, counsel for the 10 legislators, said the issue of disqualification has become "infructuous" since the post of Parliamentary Secretary itself had ceased to exist, and all parliamentary secretaries had immediately resigned after the High Court verdict. "It is an act of the Centre using constitutional institutions", she said.

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The Election Commission gave its opinion to the President on a complaint by the Congress filed in June 2016 seeking disqualification of the MLAs.

Initially, the petition was directed at 21 MLAs, but one MLA, named Jarnail Singh, resigned to contest in the Punjab elections previous year.

The Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, BJP's Vijender Gupta said, "Kejriwal should take moral responsibility for disqualification of his MLAs".

President's consent means that the strength of the AAP in the 70 member Delhi assembly would be down to 46.

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