The Election Commission found 20 AAP MLAs guilty of holding ‘Office of Profit’ and has recommended their disqualification. Its opinion was communicated to President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday afternoon. The AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government.
Initially, the case was against 21 MLAs but it now stands at 20 after Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh resigned to contest against Parkash Singh Badal in the Punjab Assembly elections last year.
The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.
The term ‘Office of Profit’ has been defined in the Constitution, which prohibits Members of Parliament and MLAs from accepting government positions which carry some financial remuneration or any other benefit such as office space or even a car. Any violation of this provision attracts disqualification of the legislator. The aim of this provision is to preserve the independence of the legislature by keeping its members away from any temptations from the executive.
The Commission’s opinion has been communicated to the President just three days before Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti retires.
The Aam Aadmi Party, which won 67 of the 70 Assembly seats, continues to enjoy a majority in the Delhi Assembly even after the disqualification of the 20 MLAs. In the first reaction coming from the party, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:
This must be the first ever recommendation in EC history where a recommendation has been sent without even hearing the main matter on merits. NO HEARING TOOK PLACE IN EC ON THE POINT OF OFFICE OF PROFIT
— Nagendar Sharma (@sharmanagendar) January 19, 2018
These are the 20 AAP MLAs the Election Commission has found guilty of ‘office of profit’
1. Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka constituency
2. Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk constituency
3. Sanjeev Jha from Burari constituency
4. Kailash Gehlot from Najafgarh constituency
5. Vijendra Garg from Rajinder Nagar constituency
6. Praveen Kumar from Jangpura constituency
7. Sharad Kumar Chauhan from Narela constituency
8. Madan Lal Khufiya from Kasturba Nagar constituency
9. Shiv Charan Goyal from Moti Nagar constituency
10. Sarita Singh from Rohtas Nagar constituency
11. Naresh Yadav from Mehrauli constituency
12. Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur constituency
13. Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri constituency
14. Anil Kumar Bajpai from Gandhi Nagar constituency
15. Som Dutt from Sadar Bazar constituency
16. Avtar Singh from Kalkaji constituency
17. Sukhvir Singh Dala from Mundka constituency
18. Manoj Kumar from Kondli constituency
19. Nitin Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar constituency
20. Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar constituency