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EC recommends 20 AAP MLAs to be disqualified Delhi HC refuses to grant interim relief

EC recommends 20 AAP MLAs to be disqualified Delhi HC refuses to grant interim relief
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The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim relief to Aam Aadmi Party MLAs who had approached the court against the Election Commission’s...

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim relief to Aam Aadmi Party MLAs who had approached the court against the Election Commission’s (EC) recommendation to the President to disqualify 20 of them for allegedly holding offices of profit.

The pleas by seven MLAs was mentioned before a Bench headed by acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal for urgent hearing. The petition before the Election Commission was filed by one Prashant Patel against 21 MLAs who were appointed parliamentary secretaries by the AAP government in Delhi. Subsequently, the proceedings were dropped against Jarnail Singh after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls.

Earlier in the day, the EC had recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding offices of profit. In its opinion sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, the EC said by being parliamentary secretaries, they held office of profit and were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly.

The President is bound to go by the recommendation of the EC. In cases where petitions are made seeking disqualification of lawmakers, the President sends a reference to the poll panel, which decides on the case by sending back its opinion.

In the present case, the petition was made to disqualify 21 MLAs, but one of them — Jarnail Singh — had resigned last year to contest the Punjab elections. AAP leader Ashutosh lashed out at the poll panel, saying the EC had never “touched so low ever”. “The EC should not be the letter box of the PMO.

But that is the reality today,” tweeted the journalist-turned-politician. “It is a recommendation made without hearing the arguments of MLAs on the false allegation of office of profit,” said Nagendar Sharma, media advisor to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. After the EC recommendations, both the Congress and the BJP demanded chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation.

“Kejriwal has no right to continue. Half of his cabinet ministers were removed on corruption charges. Twenty MLAs who were enjoying ministerial perks would be disqualified,” Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said in a tweet.

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