The Delhi government has replied to some of the questions asked by the Election Commission of India regarding the appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries (all AAP MLAs). The EC has sought answers to ‘formulate the opinion in the aforesaid matter’.
In its reply, the Delhi government said it did not issue any order for assigning duties to the parliamentary secretaries. However, as they have been attached with ministers, it is the ministers who assign them duties. The documents sought by the EC were: copies of notes and order of government creating offices/posts of the 21 parliamentary secretaries, copies of appointment letter of all 21 parliamentary secretaries. Government has sent the documents to the EC.
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On the EC query whether any office space has been provided to the parliamentary secretaries, the government said in its reply, “This part of information is being collected from all the departments.” On details of supporting staff provided to them, the government replied in the negative.
The government said no vehicles, drivers and travelling allowance was provided to the parliamentary secretaries. It also said no residence, telephone facility and camp office was provided to them.
On a query about the nature of duties assigned to the parliamentary secretaries, the government stated, “The detailed information in this regard has been sought from all the heads of departments concerned… which shall be communicated as soon as the information is received.”
With the replies not fully furnished, the EC will have to wait to decide on the petition seeking the disqualification of the 21 AAP legislators for allegedly holding an additional ‘office of profit’ as parliamentary secretaries, said sources.
President Pranab Mukherjee has refused assent to a Delhi government bill which sought to make the position of parliamentary secretary in the Delhi Assembly exempt from the definition of ‘office of profit’.