Election Commission Defers Hearing On 21 AAP Legislators’ Fate



The AAP government repeatedly asserted that it hadn’t sought to provide any facilities or perks to the 21 parliamentary secretaries — MLAs who the Delhi government said would assist ministers. But copies of correspondence among three senior Delhi officials contradict that position.

In February, Krishan Lal, a deputy secretary in the general administration department, wrote to the lieutenant governor’s secretary that the department had not provided perks and privileges to the parliamentary secretaries.

However, some “seating arrangement” could be made for them in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha Complex and “some of the facilities (other than facilities being provided to MLAs) might be provided by Delhi Vidhan Sabha Sectt (secretariat)”, he wrote in the letter, which was ..

In response, Manjeet Singh, deputy secretary in the Delhi assembly secretariat, wrote to the LG’s secretary on February 23, saying: “In this context, I am directed to inform you that on the request of the Government of NCT of Delhi, some rooms along with some furniture items have been earmarked for the parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the assembly complex.”

This correspondence is part of a recent representation to the ElectionCommission by advocate Prashant Patel, who had petitioned the President seeking disqualification of the 21MLAs for allegedly holding an office of profit.

The Election Commission deferred the hearing today 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 legislators.

“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),” Mr Maken said.

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.

The 21 legislators now face the risk of disqualification.

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