New Delhi, March 23: In a major relief to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Delhi High Court on Friday restored the legislatorship of 20 ruling party MLAs who were disqualified for holding offices-of-profit. Setting aside the Election Commission recommendation disqualifying the MLAs, the court quashed the January 20 presidential order and referred the case back to the poll panel for a fresh hearing. A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khan and Justice Chander Shekhar said the January 19 poll panel recommendation given to the President “is vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with principles of tural justice”. It said there was a “violation of tural justice and no oral hearing was given to the AAP MLAs before disqualifying them as legislators”.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal described it as a victory for truth. “The truth has triumphed. The people whom Delhi had voted as their representatives were wrongly disqualified,” Kejriwal tweeted. The MLAs were disqualified on charges of holding offices-of-profit because they were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries in March 2015.
The Delhi government appointed 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries to assist cabinet ministers and include more MLAs in governce work. The post comes with perks similar to that of a minister. The law bars elected representatives from holding offices-of-profit during their tenure. In his first reaction after the High Court verdict, Patel said: “The court has said this case will be reopened. I had just raised a constitutiol issue. There is no setback for me.” (IANS)