The Delhi high court on Friday restored the membership of 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs who were disqualified by the Election Commission for holding office of profit as ‘parliamentary secretaries’ in the Delhi government.
The high court, which sent the matter back to the Election Commission for reconsideration, said there was violation of natural justice and no oral hearing was given to the MLAs before disqualifying them as legislators.
Reacting to the judgment chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Truth has won.”
The case dates back to March 2015 when the Delhi government appointed 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The appointments were made to assist cabinet ministers and include more MLAs in governance work. A parliamentary secretary assists a minister, and the office usually comes with perks similar to that of a minister.
Lawyer Prashant Patel had complained to the then President, Pranab Mukherjee, that 21 of the AAP legislators were occupying offices of profit. Mukherjee referred the complaint to the Election Commission (EC).
On January 19 this year, the EC recommended disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs(one had by then resigned from the assembly, bringing the number of disqualified MLAs to 20). The President accepted the EC’s opinion the very next day.