New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the disqualification of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs for holding offices of profit. The court has also asked the Election Commission not to issue any notification for bypolls till the next date of hearing on January 29.
In a huge jolt to AAP, the EC last Friday had recommended the disqualification of 20 MLAs of the party for allegedly holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries, which was given assent by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The petition against the AAP MLAs was filed by Delhi lawyer Prashant Patel who had sought their disqualification. The petitioner had claimed that the MLAs had enjoyed perks and benefits while they held the office of parliamentary secretaries.
The Congress had also on June 9, 2016, moved the Election Commission to seek disqualification of 21 AAP legislators.
Of the 21 MLAs, the proceedings against Jarnail Singh were dropped after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls in February 2017.
The EC had sought an explanation from the AAP lawmakers. In a plea filed in 2017, the legislators had requested the EC to drop the case of "office of profit" against them. The EC, however, rejected the request stating that the proceedings against them will continue.
In March 2015, the AAP government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exempt the posts of Parliamentary Secretary from the definition of office of profit with retrospective effect.
However, the then President Pranab Mukherjee had refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, which declared them illegal since the order had been passed "without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor".
Full list of 20 MLAs
1 Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka constituency
2 Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk constituency
3 Sanjeev Jha from Burari constituency
4 Kailash Gehlot from Najafgarh constituency
5 Vijendra Garg from Rajinder Nagar constituency
6 Praveen Kumar from Jangpura constituency
7 Sharad Kumar Chauhan from Narela constituency
8 Madan Lal Khufiya from Kasturba Nagar constituency
9 Shiv Charan Goyal from Moti Nagar constituency
10 Sarita Singh from Rohtas Nagar constituency
11 Naresh Yadav from Mehrauli constituency
12 Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur constituency
13 Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri constituency
14 Anil Kumar Bajpai from Gandhi Nagar constituency
15 Som Dutt from Sadar Bazar constituency
16 Avtar Singh from Kalkaji constituency
17 Sukhvir Singh Dala from Mundka constituency
18 Manoj Kumar from Kondli constituency
19 Nitin Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar constituency
20 Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar constituency