GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
»
2-min read

AAP’s Office of Profit Case: What was the EC Order That Delhi HC Found 'Bad in Law'

The case is two and a half years old and dates back to March 2015, when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appointed 21 MLAs from his party as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com

Updated:March 23, 2018, 5:19 PM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
AAP’s Office of Profit Case: What was the EC Order That Delhi HC Found 'Bad in Law'
File Photo of the Election Commission of India building.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday restored 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs in the ‘Office of Profit’ case, three months after they were disqualified by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The case is two and a half years old and dates back to March 2015, when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appointed 21 MLAs from his party as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The High Court has set aside the EC order dated January 19, 2018, in which it recommended the disqualification of the AAP MLAs to President Ramnath Kovind. The HC called the order “vitiated” and “bad in law”, claiming it violated the principles of ‘natural justice’.

The EC notification on January 19 examined four questions after a series of seven hearings in the case. These questions were:

1) Did the MLAs hold the office of parliamentary secretary?

2) Is the office of parliamentary secretary an office under the government?

3) Is it an office which yields profit, or has the potential to yield profit?

4) Does the office of parliamentary secretary have executive nature of functions?

On all these four questions, the EC found the AAP MLAs guilty. “There is no doubt on the fact that the office of parliamentary secretary was an ‘office’ as required to fall within the purview of the ‘office of profit’ doctrine, irrespective of the fact that these respondents were appointed as parliamentary secretaries without the creation of such a post by any law or order,” the EC notification read.

The AAP’s response was that their MLAs were not given a fair hearing by the EC, a view with which the court agreed. “Opinion of the ECI dated 19th January, 2018 and the consequent order/notification dated 20th January, 2018 for violation of principles of natural justice, namely, failure to give oral hearing and opportunity to address arguments on merits of the issue whether the petitioners had incurred disqualification and also on account of failure to inform that Mr. OP Rawat had expressed his intention to rejoin proceedings after his recusal and lastly because Mr. Sunil Arora had not participated and the hearings were held before him.”

The Kejriwal government had appointed the 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries in March 2015, following which lawyer Prashant Patel had filed a petition against them in the ECI. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court had set aside the Kejriwal government’s appointment of 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. In January 2017, the number of MLAs under the scanner came down from 21 to 20 as Jarnail Singh resigned as the MLA from Rajouri Garden to contest the Punjab Election. The Kejriwal government then appealed in the EC that proceedings against its MLAs be dropped, since they were no longer Parliamentary Secretaries, but that was rejected by the EC in June 2017.

The EC had sought an explanation from AAP MLAs in October 2017 and finally, in January, it recommended their disqualification.

Also Watch

| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
Read full article