Monday, 16 July, 2018

Delhi High Court quashes Election Commission recommendations disqualifying the 20 AAP…

039;Satya ki jeet', says Arvind Kejriwal as Delhi HC sets aside disqualification of AAP MLAs Delhi High Court sets aside disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs in office of profit case, sends matter back to EC
Isabel Fisher | 24 March, 2018, 16:52

Even as the Delhi High Court Friday set aside the Election Commission's order disqualifying 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs saying it was bad in law, A.K. Joti, who was the chief election commissioner when the decision was taken told ThePrint that adequate time was given to the legislators to respond.

However, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat refrained from making any comment on the high court order.

Similarly, we respect today's decision.

Sources in the commission said the EC has in the past not appealed against any order of a high court relating to a reference matter.

"Be it the Election Commission (EC) or those sitting at the central governemnt, this (order) is a message to them".


AAP's Delhi unit chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said all the 20 party MLAs will meet people in their respective constituencies and explain to them how they were "targeted".

The MLA's were also not formally informed about then Election Commissioner OP Rawat joining the hearings after recusing himself from the case a year ago. "So three interim orders were passed and almost two years given to the AAP MLAs - the case was referred to us by Rashtrapati Bhavan in December 2015", Joti added.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the High Court verdict on AAP MLAs disqualification will be followed in "spirit and letter". The matter has been sent back to ECI, said media reports.

The MLAs are accused of holding offices of profit, as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015. Earlier, on January 24, the high court had refused to stay the Centre s notification disqualifying the MLAs, but restrained the EC from taking any precipitate measures such as announcing dates for by-polls in the Capital to fill the vacancies. It said the post of Parliamentary Secretaries to ministers was an office that was "never created by any law or order" of the Delhi government and its roles and responsibilities were "never spelt out in any manner". "In light of the statutory provisions and the legal position, the EC has to render and give their opinion on the reference", the court said. They had approached the high court challenging their disqualification after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the EC's recommendation.Backing its recommendation to the President for AAP MLAs' disqualification, the poll panel had submitted that the legislators can not claim that they were not holding office-of-profit.

Backing its recommendation to the president for AAP MLAs' disqualification, the poll panel had submitted that the legislators can not claim that they were not holding office-of-profit.

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