Delhi govt wants to defend 21 parliament secys

Delhi govt wants to defend 21 parliament secys

Delhi govt wants to defend 21 parliament secys
The Delhi government has come to the rescue of its 21 parliamentary secretaries by volunteering to present their case before the Election Commission which is hearing a plea to disqualify the 21 lawmakers for holding an office of profit.

The Arvind Kejriwal government’s senior standing counsel has moved an application before the EC with a request that the Delhi government be made ''a party to the proceedings in the matter of disqualification of 21 MLAs.''

The petitioner against the 21 parliamentary secretaries, Prashant Patel, has objected to the attempt of the AAP government for being impleaded as a party to the present proceedings.
The Delhi government’s application seeking permission to be made a party in the case was filed by Deputy Secretary Krishan Lal.

Patel, in an application given to the EC, alleged that the sequence of events “clearly demonstrate that the hands of the Delhi government in this entire issue are not clean and their intention is malafide aimed at delaying and obstructing prompt disposal of the matter”.

He said, “The Constitution only provides for action against an MP or MLA who holds an office of profit under the Central or State Government. Under the Constitution no action is contemplated against any government.”

Patel said there was no need “for making the Delhi government a party in the matter when the Constitution’s Article 102, 191 and Section 15 of the GNCT Act make no mention of any action against a government which attempts to seduce MPs/MLAs by dangling a carrot of bait or bribery in the form of such a position in the government which may yield them some profit”.

The Delhi government wants to implead as a party to forcefully present its view that the 21 parliamentary secretaries are not liable for disqualification as they were never given any office, vehicle or remuneration, in addition to their salaries as MLAs.

Patel, on the other hand, hit out at the Kejriwal government claiming that it could not be allowed to enter the picture at this juncture as it never cared to seek approval of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Central government before introducing and passing a bill to protect the 21 parliamentary secretaries from disqualification.

The  21 legislators who have been functioning as parliamentary secretaries have maintained that they do not have any executive power and they get no additional benefits for functioning in these posts.

Sources said the EC is likely to decide the future of  the 21 parliamentary secretaries within the next two months and inform President Pranab Mukherjee about its decision.

The uncertainty over the future of the 21 parliamentary secretaries is linked to  Mukherjee’s recent  refusal  to give assent to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 of June 24 2015 that aims to protect with retrospective effect the 21 AAP MLAs from disqualification under “office of profit” provisions.

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