Poll panel defers hearing on 21 AAP MLAs’ fate

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) The Election Commission on Thursday deferred till July 21 the hearing of the 21 Aam Aadmi Party legislators’ clarification on their appointment as parliamentary secretaries by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

These AAP legislators faced disqualification from the Delhi assembly on the ground that as parliamentary secretaries were holding “office of profit” and posts which lacked constitutional provision.

The Election Commission deferred the hearing on Thursday after Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, who also wants to be a party to the case, filed an intervening petition but failed to send its copies to the 21 concerned legisaltors.

“The Election Commission has asked us to send the copy of our petition to other parties and the 21 MLAs would be heard on July 21 in connection with the office of profit (issue),” Maken said here.

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Congress leader Salman Khurshid is representing the party in this case.

AAP lawmaker Jarnail Singh, appointed one of the parliamentary secretaries, said: “Till now both the Congress and the BJP had said that it’s not a political matter. But today because of this petition, it is clear it’s a political matter.”

The Election Commission had sought the replies of the 21 Aam Aadmi Party legislators on their appointment as parliamentary secretaries which post and position in Delhi lacks constitutional provisions.

The Delhi government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.

This bill was aimed at exclusion of the post of parliamentary secretary from the definition of “office of profit”.

However, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the bill earlier this month, leaving the fate of 21 parliamentary secretaries hanging in balance.

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The 21 legislators now face the risk of disqualification.

Several petitions were also filed with the President, seeking disqualification of these AAP lawmakers on the ground that they occupied “office of profit” in violation of the Constitution.

–IANS

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