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Saturday 6 June 2020

Office of profit: President approves disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind today accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit.

A notification issued by the law ministry quoted the president as saying that in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.

The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.

In a blow to the AAP, the EC had on Friday asked the President to disqualify its 20 MLAs.

“…Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in the exercise of the powers…do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly,” the notification said.

All the 20 AAP MLAs had moved the Delhi High Court challenging the EC’s recommendation but Justice Rekha Palli had refused to pass any interim order.

In their pleas, they have sought a stay on the proceedings before the ECI as well as any communication to the President by the poll panel.

They have contended that no hearing on the merits of the case has taken place before the ECI and no evidence has been even led by complainant Prashant Patel, nor any opportunity has been granted to the petitioners before the ECI.

The petition before the ECI was filed by one 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 set to be 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).

PTI

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