HC: AAP MLAs can’t force EC to examine complainant

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New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday said Aam Aadmi Party MLAs cannot force the Election Commission to cross-examine complainant Prashant Patel who had moved the court against the MLAs on ‘office-of-profit.’

“As per the law, if they (Election Commission) don’t want to call any witness, then it is the matter of law, you can’t force them to call Prashant Patel,” A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar said.

Senior advocate K.V. Viswanathan, who represents an AAP MLA, requested the court to allow cross-examination of Patel and also summon some more witnesses.

Countering his submission, poll panel counsel and senior advocate Arvind Nigam said that this case was based on documents.

The bench said the onus to prove if AAP MLAs were holding office-of-profit is on the EC.

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The court said whether MLAs were enjoying the office-of-profit or not is a disputed fact.

The bench said that the MLAs can challenge EC’s final order, but they cannot force the poll panel to call witnesses.

The court fixed August 9 for further hearing.

The AAP legislators were disqualified for holding ‘office-of-profit’ when they were appointed parliamentary secretaries.

The Election Commission on Monday fixed August 20 for hearing the matter, following a request from the AAP MLAs.

The Commission was to hear final arguments in the case, but the MLAs moved the High Court.

On January 19, the EC recommended that 20 AAP MLAs be disqualified for holding offices of profit. Two days later, President Ram Nath Kovind approved it. Later, the MLAs moved the High Court.

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In March, the High Court restored the Assembly membership of the 20 disqualified MLAs.

–IANS

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