'I raised parliamentary secy issue as a vigilant citizen'

'I raised parliamentary secy issue as a vigilant citizen'

Meet Prashant Patel, who looks pretty much like a legal practitioner living next door. But this advocate has managed to rock Delhi politics with his petition that may determine the future of the Arvind Kejrwal government.

This 29-year-old Delhiite from East of Kailash colony is the brain behind the petition before President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking the disqualification of the 21 legislators who allegedly held an “office of profit” as parliamentary secretaries.

“I have filed the petition as a vigilant citizen and in the capacity of an advocate. I have no political agenda or ulterior motive," said Patel, explaining what prompted him to approach the President.

The future of the 21 parliamentary secretaries appointed by Kejriwal hangs in balance with the Election Commission expected to soon take a decision on whether or not to disqualify the 21 MLAs from the Delhi Assembly.

“I filed the petition on June 19, 2015 after reading a book by S K Sharma, former secretary of Delhi Assembly, “ he said.

Sharma’s book in Hindi touched the subject of Delhi government’s powers and limitations. It also talked about the misconceptions about the domain of the Union Territory’s elected government. “I even met Sharma to understand the complex subject,” said Patel, who denied having any political motives.

"It is a purely legal matter,” he said, who approached the President for the second time in one when the AAP government introduced the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997 in Delhi Assembly on June 23 and tried to shield the 21 MLAs from disqualification with retrospective effect  from February 14.

“I wrote to president that the bill was brought by the AAP government with malafied intention and it was null and void as it was not brought with the approval of the Centre via the Lieutenant Governor. The bill was a money bill which required the LG's nod before tabling it in the Assembly,” he said.

Patel recalled that his petition was forwarded by the President to the EC which asked  me to submit all the relevant documents by December 28, 2015.

“In March 2016, the EC asked the government and the MLAs to file a reply by April 10. The government sought more time and the EC granted it three weeks more time and asked it to file reply by May 10. The govt filed the reply. The EC asked me if I wanted to file a rejoinder and I filed a rejoinder on June 8,” said Patel.

The lawyer also credits Sharma’s book for inspiring him to raise a issue related to the constitutional position of the 21 parliamentary secretaries.
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