20 AAP MLAs get the boot from President

Updated: Jan 22, 2018, 08:43 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

President disqualifies them for holding offices of profit after the recommendation of the EC

The decision is a blow to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP’s strength will go down to 46 from 66 in the 70-member House. File Pic
The decision is a blow to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The AAP’s strength will go down to 46 from 66 in the 70-member House. File Pic

President Ram Nath Kovind yesterday 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 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. Giving 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. Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work. AAP insisted that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks. The EC had said, "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.

"...Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in 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 president's notification said. The Delhi High court will hear the case today.

'Unconstitutional'
Senior AAP leader Ashutosh said, "The president's order to disqualify AAP MLAs is unconstitutional and dangerous for democracy." Alka Lamba, who was disqualified, said the president should have heard them out before arriving at a conclusion.

BJP says
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said the decision has "protected" India's democratic values. "People of Delhi feel that the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs must now return all financial benefits they were given from the day they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries," said Tiwari.

The 20 MLAs
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 include 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).

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