AAP legislators, who were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers last year, have sought additional time of six weeks to reply to a notice by the Election Commission on why they should not be disqualified for holding two offices of profit. The Delhi government had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries to ministers to assist in various departments, a move that was contested by an advocate, who pointed out that the legislators would thereby hold two offices of profit.
As the Delhi government defended the move and maintained that the parliamentary secretaries ‘did not get any additional pecuniary benefits’ for the position, the legislators concerned have written to the general administration department separately, seeking information on how much the government had spent on them.
“There were only two components in the notification — that the parliamentary secretaries may use official cars for official purposes and may use office of the ministers — both of which were eventually not provided. The bill approving the appointment of the parliamentary secretaries was forwarded to the Lieutenant Governor and it is pending with him. So both benefits, which were not exactly direct financial benefits, were also not provided. Then how is it an office of profit,” said Madan Lal, Kasturba Nagar MLA and parliamentary secretary (vigilance).
All other parliamentary secretaries, including Alka Lamba, Jarnail Singh and Adarsh Shastri, are working on their replies after consulting the party’s legal counsel. The last date for submission of the reply was Monday. Since the responses were being worked upon, they sought six weeks’ time.