The Election Commission has rejected a plea of 21 AAP MLAs, facing prospects of disqualification for allegedly holding Office of Profit, to get hard copies of response filed by the Delhi government on the issue, saying it is “not under any obligation” to do so.
The poll panel also made it clear that the legislators will have to respond by October 17 on a plea seeking their disqualification failing which the Commission will “presume” that they have “nothing to say in the matter” and decide accordingly.
The Delhi government had earlier submitted documents before the Commission in this case. On September 8, the Delhi High Court had set aside the appointment of 21 party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The court had said the order to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries was given without the concurrence of the Lt Governor.
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In the last hearing on September 23, the MLAs had sought time to study the high court judgement that set aside their appointment. On October 7, the AAP MLAs were to file a response, but again had asked for an extension.
“It may be noted that if no reply is received by aforesaid date (October 17), it will be presumed that you have nothing to say and the Commission will take appropriate action without any further reference to you,” the panel told the MLAs in a notice.
The petition to disqualify AAP MLAs was filed by advocate Prashant Patel, who has termed the legislators’ move a “ploy” to delay the proceedings.
The Commission has also asked Patel to sumbit his rejoinder to the AAP MLAs response by October 21.