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AAP MLAs withdraw plea from Delhi High Court seeking stay on their disqualification

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the disqualification 20 of AAP MLAs in Delhi for holding offices of profit.

AAP MLAs withdraw plea from Delhi High Court seeking stay on their disqualification
Representational image

New Delhi:  The twenty disqualified AAP MLAs on Monday withdrew their application from the Delhi High Court challenging the Election Commission's recommendation in the office of profit case.

Justice Rekha Palli allowed the MLAs to withdraw their plea and termed it "dismissed as withdrawn".

Advocate Manish Vashisht, appearing for one of the AAP MLAs, told the court that their application challenging the poll panel's recommendation to the President disqualifying them as legislators had become 'infructuous' as a notification in this regard has already been issued on January 20, 2018, PTI reported.

The party said that they would file a fresh plea after examining the notification for their disqualification.

In a major setback to the party, President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday had approved the disqualification of twenty of its MLAs in Delhi for holding offices of profit. The President had given his assent to the recommendation by the EC. 

The EC had on Friday recommended to the President that the MLAs were liable for disqualification for holding offices of profit between March 13, 2015, and September 8, 2016.

The President is bound by the recommendation of the commission. Under the rules, petitions to the President seeking disqualification of lawmakers are referred to the EC. The poll panel takes a decision and sends its recommendation to the Rashtrapati Bhavan which is accepted.

Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work. AAP has been insisting that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks.

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

The petition before the EC was filed by Prashant Patel against 21 MLAs who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the AAP government in Delhi. The proceedings against Jarnail Singh were dropped after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls.

The 20 MLAs disqualified include - Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) - who is also a minister - Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).

Others are - Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).

Reacting to the development, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal had said on Sunday, "There was some logic when God gave us 67 seats. The Almighty stood behind us in our every step. Otherwise, we would have been nothing... Just don't stray away from the path of truth."

He had told a gathering in Najafgarh, "They are trying to harass us by all means... They got CBI raid done at my office, but after the 24-hour search, they only found my four mufflers. Our MLAs were arrested."

"The LG had called 400 files of our government (pertaining to decisions taken in two years), but when they did not find anything against us... They today disqualified our 20 MLAs," he had further said.

(With PTI inputs)