‘Office of Profit’ Row Would Lead to Suspension of 20 AAP MLA’s?
In March 2015, when AAP party successfully won the election, the Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government appointed 21 MLA’s as parliamentary secretaries. This appointment of the MLA’s was challenged by Prashant Patel who petitioned to then president Pranab Mukherjee, asking for the disqualification of these secretaries.
Bangalore: Well, this New Year doesn’t seem to have given a prosperous start to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as this year’s beginning itself has given a nightmare to AAP. The reason for that is the decision of the Election Commission to disqualify 20 MLA’s of Aam Aadmi party.
In March 2015, when AAP party successfully won the election, the Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government appointed 21 MLA’s as parliamentary secretaries. This appointment of the MLA’s was challenged by Prashant Patel who petitioned to then president Pranab Mukherjee, asking for the disqualification of these secretaries. He mentioned the reason for their disqualification as these MLA’s were holding “Office of Profit”.
Now let’s know “Office of Profit”. If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “Office of Profit”. Similarly, there is a law stating that, a person will be disqualified if he holds office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.
In the same month, after AAP came into power, the Delhi assembly passed the Delhi Member of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment Bill), 2015 excluding parliamentary secretaries from ‘Office of Profit” with retrospective effect. After this, till 2017, the Election Commission holds a personal hearing for 21 AAP MLAs and it also rejected the AAP MLA’s plea to drop ‘Office of Profit’ case against them.
In October 2017, the EC issued notice to the legislators seeking an explanation in the case. On January 19, 2018, the Election Commission asked president, Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs (One of the MLAs, Jarnail Singh of Rajouri Garden, had resigned last year).
Regarding this issue, one of the senior AAP leader Gopal Rai, condemned that the decision to disqualify the MLA’s is the parting gift to Narendra Modi.
“The disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs was his gift to Modi. What is the reason for this gift? Why has it been given? Aam Aadmi Party and the country want to know this,” the senior leader said.
The chief of EC, A.K. Joti, is due to demit office soon as he turns 65 on January 23.
“Everyone in the country has only one question on their mind: What was the compulsion for him to take the decision with only two days to retire?” Rai asked.
This decision was appealed against in the Delhi High Court, which later refused to grant the interim relief to AAP MLAs against the Election Commission’s recommendation.
The AAP spokesperson, Saurabh Bharadwaj, said , “if an investigation is conducted anywhere in the world, the rules are spelt out first and those who are named as accused are also given a chance to explain, claiming that the EC had not given the AAP MLAs an opportunity to present their view”
Rai, on the other hand, refused the claims that the AAP MLA’s were not given chances to explain their side to EC and said it was rumor spread by the media.
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