The Election Commission will on Thursday resume the hearing in the case of 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs after the Delhi High Court set aside their disqualification for allegedly holding office-of-profit. The commission had last month directed the 20 Delhi lawmakers to appear in person or through their legal representatives at 3.00 pm on May 17 for “oral hearing”.
The poll panel’s decision to resume hearing came after the high court March 23 order. The court had termed the recommendation as “vitiated” and “bad in law” and directed the commission to hear the issue afresh.
“The oral hearing will be on the merits of the case,” a senior commission official explained. The high court had said with the poll body’s opinion and the subsequent notification being set aside, the proceedings before the commission would continue from the stage the error and lapse occurred.
The legislators, who were appointed parliamentary secretaries, had challenged their disqualification on the ground of holding office-of-profit. The MLAs had alleged that the commission had not given a hearing to their pleas since March last year. The poll panel had maintained that two opportunities were given to file written submissions.
They were accused of holding office-of-profit as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015. This was soon after they were elected to the Assembly. In September 2016, the high court had ruled against their appointment as parliamentary secretaries after hearing their pleas on a daily basis.
The commission had on January 19 recommended the disqualification of the AAP MLAs — Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gahlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal and Shiv Charan Goyal.
The others were Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh. President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the commission’s opinion the next day.