Office-of-profit case: HC refers AAP MLAs’ plea to division bench

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New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ordered placing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs’ plea to challenge an Election Commission order in the office-of-profit case before the same division bench that earlier passed the orders on the issue.

The AAP legislators have challenged the Election Commission’s July 17 order to reject their pleas to seek cross-examination of complainant advocate Prashant Patel.

Justice V. Kameswar Rao said that the plea has to be heard by the same division bench that passed the March 23 order, wherein the Election Commission recommendation to disqualify 20 ruling party MLAs in the office-of-profit case was set aside.

The court had asked the EC to hear the case afresh because the MLAs were not given proper hearing before the poll panel decided on their disqualification.

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The MLAs were disqualified for holding office-of-profit when they were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries.

The Election Commission on Monday had 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.

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

In May, these MLAs had moved a plea for cross-examination of Patel and Assembly officials to prove that they were not holding any office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

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–IANS

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