EC reserves decision in Delhi Parliamentary Secretaries case

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New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) The Election Commission on Thursday heard the lawyers of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Delhi government, who all sought to become parties in the Delhi Parliamentary Secretaries case, but reserved its order.

While the two political parties had filed intervening petitions before the poll panel on July 14 to be made parties in the case, the Delhi government had also asked for impleadment, said Delhi government’s standing counsel Rahul Mehra.

However, the 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators — who were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and who are now facing possible disqualification for enjoying office of profit — opposed the Congress and BJP’s pleas to be made parties in the matter.

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They argued through their lawyers that making Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parties in the case would politicise the matter.

Prashant Patel, the activist who first raised the matter, also opposed the BJP and Congress’ pleas.

“It is a constitutional matter and it should not be politicised,” Patel told IANS.

Mehra also contended that interventions cannot be allowed in this case as it was not an open court hearing.

“We put forth before the Commission that Section 15(3) and 15(4) of the GNCTD Act clearly says that any complaint regarding the office of profit would go to the President of India, who would then refer the matter to the Election Commission. There is no provision of complaints or interventionist applications being made directly to the EC,” Mehra said.

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He, however, argued that the Delhi government should be made a party in the case as it had appointed the 21 legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Mehra clarified that the Delhi government had not moved intervention plea but had requested to be impleaded.

“There is a technical difference between the two,” he said.

The Election Commission heard out all the parties and reserved its decision, Congress leader and lawyer Salman Khurshid, who appeared on behalf of Congress, told media after the hearing.



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