On Saturday morning, AAP received the Election Commission notice that ruled that they would continue hearing the plea against the party’s 21 MLAs for allegedly holding an office of profit. In reaction, the BJP maintained that the EC “did occupy office of profit”, AAP responded by saying that the EC notice was being “misinterpreted” and that they were likely to “challenge this order”. Also Read: EC issues order against 21 AAP MLAs
The EC order dated June 23, maintained that the commission was of the “considered opinion” that the AAP MLAs did hold “de facto the office of parliamentary secretaries from March 13, 2015 to September 8, 2016”. The order comes days before Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi demits office in July. The petition was filed against 21 AAP MLAs, although proceedings were dropped against Jarnail Singh, who resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest Assembly polls in Punjab.
BJP leader and spokesperson Sambit Patra reacted to the order and wrote on Twitter, “So finally the noose tightens around corrupt AAP. EC’s verdict that the 21 AAP MLAs did occupy office of profit.” Last week, leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly and BJP leader Vijender Gupta had demanded that the EC take action in the case against.
But AAP claimed that the BJP’s claim ammounted to ‘misinterpretation’. AAP MLA and party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “Election Commission’s recent order should not be misinterpreted. High Court of Delhi had declared very Order of appointment of 21 Parliamentary Secretaries as null and void.Therefore there is no question of hearing a petition for OFFICE which never existed as per Delhi High Court. However, Election Commission has ordered that it will still hear the petition. All remedies are available to challenge this order of EC. We respect the orders of Hon’ble High Court as well as Hon’ble Election Commission.”
Earlier, the Delhi HC had set aside the appointment of the MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, maintaining that the order appointing them was given without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor.