The Election Commission will resume from next month hearing in the cases of disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs for allegedly holding office-of-profit. The Commission has 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 EC’s decision came days after the Delhi high court set aside an order disqualifying them. The court had also termed the recommendation as “vitiated” and “bad in law” and directed the EC to hear the issue afresh. “The oral hearing will be on the merit of the case,” explained a senior EC official. ALSO READ: Delhi HC strikes down disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs, says EC order is bad in law
The court had said once the EC opinion and the subsequent notification are set aside, proceedings before the poll panel would continue from the stage the error and lapse had occurred. The legislators, who were appointed parliamentary secretaries, had challenged their disqualification for holding office-of-profit.
The Aam Aadmi Party had alleged that the Election Commission did not give its plea a hearing since March last year. The EC had maintained that they were given two opportunities to file written submissions. The MLAs were accused of holding offices 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 Delhi Assembly. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court had ruled against their appointment as parliamentary secretaries, after hearing their pleas on a daily basis.
The EC had on January 19 recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs – Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gahlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal, Shiv Charan Goyal, 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 ECs opinion the next day.