AMN / NEW DELHI
President Ram Nath Kovind today accepted the recommendation of the Election Commission for disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs on account of holding Office of Profit.
In its opinion to the President, the EC had said the MLAs, by occupying the post of parliamentary secretaries had held offices of profit, and were liable to be disqualified as legislators.
AAP insisted that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks. However, the EC said that whether or not the individual Parliamentary Secretaries had actually derived the benefits or participated in executive functions of the government is of no relevance as the Supreme Court in the Jaya Bachchan case had laid down that if the post falls under office of profit, the disqualification is imminent.
The Commission said, its opinion is based on judicial pronouncements of the past, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Constitution. The complaint was against 21 MLAs out of which one MLA Jarnail Singh had resigned in January last year for contesting Punjab Assembly Polls. The MLAs were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries to the Ministers of Delhi government which was office of profit. Parliamentary Secretaries assist Ministers with their work.
However, the disqualification will not affect the Arvind Kejriwal government as it has comfortable majority with 46 MLAs in seventy member House whose effective strength get reduced to 50. The opposition BJP has four members in the Assembly.
The AAP had also approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on EC’s recommendation. The case is listed for a hearing on Monday.