EC defers hearing till August 29 on 21 AAP MLAs’ fate

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday deferred till August 29 the hearing on the clarifications of 21 Aam Aadmi Party legislators on their appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The ECI earlier heard 12 of the 17 AAP lawmakers who appeared before the election panel here. Five AAP Parliamentary Secretaries told the ECI that they can’t afford lawyers and need legal help for putting up their case before the election panel.

The parliamentary secretaries asked the ECI not to entertain a second complaint filed by lawyer Prashant Patel, who first raised the matter on June 19, last year.

AAP’s Kasturba Nagar MLA Madan Lal, who was one of 21 lawmakers appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries, said some legislators demanded that the ECI arrange a lawyer for them but the Commission declined it on the ground that there was no provision for the same.

“Nitin Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar, Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar, Jarnail Singh from Rajouri Garden and Rajesh Gupta had urged the ECI to provide them a lawyer as they can’t afford one,” Madan Lal said, adding the EC declined the request.

The 21 lawmakers face disqualification from the Delhi assembly for allegedly holding ‘office of profit’ as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Delhi government had sought through a bill an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 so as to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the definition of ‘office of profit’.

However, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the bill in July, leaving the fate of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries hanging in balance.



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