Setback for EC in AAP MLAs case

Setback for EC in AAP MLAs case

The quashing of AAP MLAs' disqualification comes as a huge setback for the Election Commission, as it had advised the President that their appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries was in violation of Constitution and done to "satiate the demand for executive office and oblige them".

The notification issued on January 21 on the office of profit complaint against 21 MLAs was a stinging rebuke on the AAP government, as the Election Commission opinion that formed part of the document said it was done through "flagrant violation" of Constitution that only permits a maximum of 10% MLAs to be appointed as ministers.

However, the High Court order puts the EC on the mat saying the opinion given to the President of India is "vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with principles of natural justice". The President had acted on the opinion, which is binding, given by the EC under A K Joti days before his retirement.

The EC did not immediately offer any comment on the judgement.

The EC had charged that 28 MLAs -- seven ministers and 21 Parliamentary Secretaries -- or 40% of the lawmakers were working for Delhi government at one point of time. It said the post of Parliamentary Secretaries to ministers was an office that was "never created by any law or order" of the Delhi government and its roles and responsibilities were "never spelt out in any manner".

In such circumstances, the EC claimed in its opinion to the President, there is no doubt over the fact that such a large scale appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries had "not only jeopardised" the functioning of these individual MLAs but also the entire Assembly.