NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant relief to the 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators disqualified for allegedly holding offices of profit. The court will hear the matter on Monday.
Taking note of the petition, Delhi HC asked the counsel for the poll panel to apprise it urgently whether any such recommendation has been made to the President by the Election Commission. Justice Rekha Palli asked the counsel appearing on behalf of the Election Commission to take instruction and inform about the development so that the hearing can resume soon.
Earlier in the day, sources said the Election Commission had recommended 20 MLAs of the party in Delhi be disqualified for holding offices of profit as ‘parliamentary secretaries.’ The party had moved High Court seeking relief against this decision.
In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind this morning, the Election Commission reportedly said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries between March 13, 2015 and September 8, 2016, held office of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators. By precedent, the President will go with the recommendations of the poll panel.
An angry AAP claimed the Election Commission has never "touched this low", after the poll panel recommended disqualification of party's 20 MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit. “The EC should not be the letter box of the PMO. But that is the reality today," Ashutosh tweeted
"A person like me who has covered EC as a reporter during (T N) Seshan days, today I can say EC has never touched so low ever," the scribe-turned politician added.
Backing AAP in its moment of crisis, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "A Constitutional body cannot be used for political vendetta. The 20 AAP MLAs were not even given a hearing by the Hon EC. Most unfortunate. This goes against the principles of natural justice.At this hour we are strongly with @arvindkejriwal and his team."
The Aam Aadmi Party, led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has 65-members in the 70-seat Delhi Assembly. The disqualification of 20 MLAs doesn’t jeopardise the government as it will still have 45 members, well over the halfway mark in the house.
Full List of 20 AAP MLAs disqualified:
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
With PTI inputs