Manish Sisodia: President should hear our view as well

Updated: Jan 21, 2018, 12:41 IST | Agencies

The Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi also alleged that his government is being deliberately targeted for the 'honest work' they have been doing

Arvind Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party described the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP lawmakers "unconstitutional" and decided to ask President Ram Nath Kovind to hear them out before signing the formal orders. "We are seeking time to meet the President. The legislators will meet him and present evidence to support their case," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announced after the 20 legislators set to lose their seat met his boss, Arvind Kejriwal.

Sisodia said the Election Commission's recommendation was "unconstitutional and undemocratic" because the legislators were not given an opportunity to defend the charge that they had violated the office of profit provisions. This is also against the principles of natural justice, he said. Lawmakers, under the office of profit provisions, cannot hold any post in the government that entitles them to perks or powers unless a law has been passed to exempt the posts. If someone complains and the Election Commission finds that a particular office held by a legislator qualifies to be an office of profit, the lawmakers stand to lose their seats.

Ram Nath Kovind and Manish Sisodia
Ram Nath Kovind and Manish Sisodia

In 2015, someone did complain when Chief Minister Kejriwal appointed 21 lawmakers as parliamentary secretaries after the AAP swept the elections with a crushing majority, capturing 67 of the 70 seats. The idea was to involve legislators in running the government and flew in the face of the principle of separation of powers between the executive and legislature.

Later when the AAP government attempted to duck the office of profit provisions by enacting a law to exempt these posts, the BJP-ruled central government spiked the bill. The AAP government reasons that this rejection was blatantly unfair and inspired by politics, not the Constitution, because many other states including Delhi had in the past made such exemptions.

In 2006 also, the Congress government-led by Sheila Dikshit had also pushed a similar law through the assembly. "How could the centre clear that bill but reject the one sent by the AAP government," asked Delhi Minister Gopal Rai.

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