India poll panel disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs

Posted January 22, 2018

Earlier, in its recommendation to the President, Election Commission has said 20 legislators of Aam Aadmi Party be disqualified for holding offices of profit as parliamentary secretaries.

AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and this was described by petitioner Prashant Patel as them holding offices of profit.

Otherwise we would have been nothing. Though the AP High in May 2015 struck down the TS order appointing six TRS MLAs, they were acting as parliamentary secretaries illegally. Interestingly, BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha backed the AAP with the former saying the decison depicts "tughluqshahi" of the worst order.

"This must be the first ever recommendation in EC history where a recommendation has been sent without even hearing the main matter on merits".

In its opinion which was sent to President of India Ram Nath Kovind, the poll panel suggested that the MLAs were "unconstitutionally" appointed as parliamentary secretaries to various Delhi ministers, therefore they are liable for disqualification. "In the end, they finally got 20 of our MLAs disqualified".

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Subsequently on November 16 last, the governor referred the matter to the poll panel.

He contended that had the disqualification of AAP MLAs taken place before the Rajya Sabha elections, the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit would have disintegrated as there was massive dissent in the party over nominations to the three seats to the Upper House of Parliament. "The doors of the courts are open to us".

The Commission had said that it is basing its opinion on judicial pronouncements of the past, the Government of National Capital Territory of Deli Act, and the Constitution.

MLAs who are stranded in the office of profit has finally been canceled.

The BJP, however, said President Ram Nath Kovind's decision on disqualification of MLAs had contributed to protection of democratic values. Right from hiking salaries of MLAs by a whopping 400% to candidate selection for Rajya Sabha to its stance on office of profit, AAP's moral high ground stands undermined.

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The disqualification will not put into jeopardy Kejriwal's government because of its huge majority in the Delhi assembly.

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

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

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

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