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Former AAP MLA faces disqualification

Jun 11, 2024 04:29 PM IST

Delhi assembly initiates action against ex-minister Raaj Kumar Anand under anti-defection law for joining BSP without resigning as AAP MLA.

The Delhi legislative assembly has begun proceedings under the anti-defection law against former Delhi minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Patel Nagar constituency Raaj Kumar Anand, senior officials aware of the matter said on Monday.

Former Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand who had resigned from the Kejriwal cabinet. (ANI)
Former Delhi minister Raaj Kumar Anand who had resigned from the Kejriwal cabinet. (ANI)

Assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goel said that Kumar, who has joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and contested the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on the party ticket, has been served a notice.

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“On May 31, Raaj Kumar Anand was served a notice by the Delhi assembly secretariat under anti-defection laws and was asked to file his reply to the assembly by 5pm on June 10. The former minister has not filed any reply till the time granted to him. Hearing of the matter is scheduled in Delhi assembly on June 11,” Goel said.

Anand resigned as minister from the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet and on April 10, but did not resign either as an MLA. On May 5, Anand joined BSP, and a day later he filed his nomination as the BSP candidate from New Delhi Lok Sabha seat.

Officials said that because Anand joined the BSP and contested elections on the party’s ticket, without resigning as an AAP MLA, the anti-defection laws will apply to him.

Under the 10th schedule of the Constitution, the anti-defection law deals with situations when a member of a political party leaves his party and joins hands with other parties. A member could be disqualified if he or she voluntarily gives up the membership of a political party or joins any other political party after the election.

According to the anti-defection laws, the chairman or the Speaker of the House has absolute power in deciding the cases pertaining to disqualification of members on the grounds of defection, the officials said.

Dilip Kumar Pandey, the AAP chief whip in Delhi assembly, had submitted a petition in the assembly seeking Anand’s disqualification under provisions of the 10th schedule of the Constitution. and the provisions of the Members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly (disqualification on the grounds of defection) rules, 1996.

In the petition, Pandey said that Anand joined the BSP on May 6, and till May 20, he has not resigned from the membership of the Delhi assembly after voluntarily giving up the membership of the AAP by joining the BSP, that is why the need to disqualify arose.

After resigning from Kejriwal’s cabinet on April 10, Anand said that a “party that was formed to fundamentally fight corruption is itself embroiled in corruption now”. AAP later argued that Anand was under the ED scanner, but he refuted the claims, saying he did not quit out of fear or pressure.

Anand did not reply to calls and texts seeking his response.

PDT Achary, former secretary-general, Lok Sabha, said anti-defection laws apply when a sitting member of a House joins another party without giving up the membership of the House. “Since Raaj Kumar Anand contested as BSP candidate without giving up his membership from the Delhi assembly as AAP MLA, it is a clear case for disqualification. The anti-defection laws empowers the Speaker of the Assembly to adjudicate such cases by giving the affected party the opportunity of hearing,” said Achary.

While Anand resigned on April 10, his resignation was accepted on May 31 when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was out on interim bail, the officials added.

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