Poll panel rejects 21 AAP MLAs' plea on 'second petition'

Last Updated 17 September 2016, 09:09 IST

The Election Commission on Friday refused to entertain fresh allegations in a petition seeking disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit even as it rejected the plea of the lawmakers not to take cognisance of the so-called second application filed in the case.

It also fixed September 23 as the next date of hearing. On August 29, it had reserved its order on the plea of AAP MLAs to reject the so-called second petition.

The Commission, in its order said, “the contents of paras make some extraneous/additional allegations and insinuations. Accordingly, these paragraphs are directed to be struck off from the reply dated December 28, 20l5 (the so-called second petition) of the petitioner.”

In other words, the Commission refused to expand the scope of the original petition by not agreeing to include “additional allegations” filed through the second petition.

The first petition was filed by advocate Prashant Patel before the President on June 19, 2015 seeking disqualification of the 21 AAP lawmakers for holding offices of profit. He had filed additional documents as sought by the EC. But AAP had claimed that additional documents in effect were a second petition which should not be entertained.

But at the same time, the Commission also rejected the plea of the MLAs that the so-called second petition by Patel was not maintainable as it was not sent to the President like the first petition but filed before the poll body.

“None of the learned counsel for the respondents have raised any specific objection that even paras 1 and 2 of the petitioner’s reply dated December 28, 2015 can also not be looked into by the Commission. 

These two paras are mere reiteration of the question raised by the petitioner in his original petition. “In the Commission’s view, there also cannot be any valid objection to the contents of paras... as all these paragraphs relate to the question raised by the petitioner in his original petition,” the Commission said in its 18-page order.

In earlier hearings, the AAP legislators, whose appointment as parliamentary secretaries is under challenge, had said the EC should consider only the first petition filed by Patel, who moved the plea before the poll body on which the President had sought opinion of the Commission.

They said the Commission cannot consider the second set of documents filed by Patel after the President had already sought opinion on the first petition.

They insisted the second set of documents were not maintainable. Patel, however, argued that the second set was “not a fresh petition but a response to details sought by the EC”.

On July 27, the commission had rejected pleas of Congress, BJP and Delhi government to implead them as parties to the petition in the alleged office-of-profit case.

The EC issued notices to the AAP legislators in June after the petition was filed before it by Patel.

The MLAs responded to the notices, saying there was no “pecuniary benefit” associated with the post and it comes without any remuneration or power.

(Published 17 September 2016, 09:09 IST)

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