New Delhi: Membership of 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs may be cancelled!
If this happens, it will a huge blow for Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP and Delhi government as well.
Why it may be cancelled?
President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday refused to give assent to the Delhi government Bill to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the office of profit.
This has raised serious questions over the fate of 21 AAP MLAs as these MLAs were appointed to the posts.
What were the posts?
These MLAs were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries by the Arvind Kejriwal government.
On March 13, 2015, Kejriwal had passed an order appointing the 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.
Petition seeking disqualification of MLAs
Petitions have been filed with the President seeking disqualification of the these MLAs on the ground that they occupied office of profit in violation of Constitution.
Kejriwal govt sought amendment
The Delhi Government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
What was Kejriwal seeking?
Through the Bill, the AAP government wanted "retrospective" exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.
The Bill was forwarded by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to the Centre, which in turn was sent to the President with its comments.
However, the President did not give his assent to the Bill.
Subsequently, the AAP government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
EC seeks reply
Acting as a quasi judicial body, the Election Commission to whom the President referred the issue has sought replies of the MLAs.
Congress sought disqualification of MLAs
Earlier, a Congress delegation had met the Chief Election Commissioner and asked him to recommend to the President "immediate disqualification" of 21 AAP MLAs holding "office of profit" by working as Parliamentary secretaries to the state government ministers.
Leading the delegation, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had said that it would be "unethical" if these 21 MLAs are allowed to attend the Delhi Assembly session.
"It has been clearly stated in the NCT of Delhi Act, 1991 that if any MLA, other than the ministers, holds any office of profit in Delhi government, the MLA concerned would invite disqualification of the membership of the Assembly."