The Election Commission has forwarded the response of 21 AAP MLAs to the petitioner, who had approached the poll body for their disqualification, saying their appointment as parliamentary secretaries comes under the Office of Profit.
Lawyer Prashant Patel, the petitioner, will now have to respond on the stand taken by the AAP MLAs, after which the EC will fix a date for personal hearing.
Twenty one AAP MLAs, facing the risk of disqualification from the Assembly on office of profit issue, have sought a personal hearing before the Election Commission.
The EC had earlier issued notices asking them to explain how their appointment as parliamentary secretaries does not fall under office of profit and why their Assembly membership should not be cancelled.
In their response to the poll body, the MLAs have said that parliamentary secretary is a post without any remuneration or power. A senior party functionary maintained that there was no “pecuniary benefit” associated with the post. On 13 March, 2015, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had passed an order appointing 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. Thereafter, the AAP government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
Through the Bill, which has been forwarded to the Centre by L-G Najeeb Jung, AAP wants “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.
Questions have been raised over their appointment by the Opposition. The L-G had said the office of parliamentary secretary is defined as an “office of profit if one looks at the statutes of Delhi” and that as per the GNCT Act, the city can have only one parliamentary secretary attached to the office of the Chief Minister.
News By ET News