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Setback For AAP In Delhi As ECI To Go Ahead With Hearing On ‘Office Of Profit’ Case

June 24, 2017 | By

NewDelhi:  As per the media reports 21 MLA’s of Delhi Aam Adami Party (AAP) who are currently under investigation for allegedly holding ‘office of profit’ as the Election Commission of India (ECI) here on Saturday refused to dismiss the cases against them. This comes despite the Delhi High Court setting aside their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.

The proceedings against one AAP MLA Jarnail Singh was dropped as he resigned as the Rajori Garden MLA earlier this year to contest Punjab assembly election.

While responding to the plea of MLA’s to dismiss the case the ECI reportedly said that ” The Commission is of the considered opinion that the representatives did hold de facto the office of parliamentary secretaries from 13th March 2015 to 8th September 2016 and the interpretation sought to be put by them on the order dated 8th September of the Honorable Delhi High Court that they did not hold any office is not legally tenable.”

“reference relating to the alleged disqualification” of the AAP MLAs “survives”. The proceedings against them are now to continue and the Commission will notify them about the date of the next hearing, ECI adds.

Arvind Kejriwal [File Photo]

Furthermore, AAP in a reported statement said that “Election Commission’s recent order should not be misinterpreted. High Court of Delhi had declared very Order of appointment of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries as null and void. Therefore there is no question of hearing a petition for an office which never existed as per Delhi High Court. However, Election Commission of India has ordered that it will still hear the petition. All remedies are available to challenge this order of ECI. We respect the orders of Hon’ble High Court as well as Hon’ble Election Commission of India.”

Election Commissioner OP Rawat, who recused himself from the case after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had questioned his impartiality, has not signed on the order, media sources said.

The petitioner, Prashant Patel, maintained that the high court order should have no bearing on the case being heard by the EC as the MLAs were enjoying the fruits of that office till their appointment was set aside by the high court, reads a quote from report published on a daily news website.

Last year, on September 8 2016 the Delhi High court had set aside the appointment of the 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The court had said the order to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries was given without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had set aside the March 13, 2015 government order after the counsel appearing for the Delhi government “conceded” that it was issued without taking concurrence or views of the LG. The poll panel had heard the case on December 16 last before it got busy with Assembly elections in five states. On March 27, the Commission had reserved its order on the issue, notes NEWS 18.

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