AAP office-of-profit case: Meet the lawyer who filed the petition
Barely a week ago, he received the National Changemakers Award 2018 from the vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). On Friday, his name emerged as the reason behind a likely bypoll to 20 assembly constituencies in Delhi.
Meet Prashant Patel Umrao, the 31-year-old lawyer who filed the office of profit petition against 20 AAP MLAs after they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries to help ministers with official work in March 2015.
“Today, my hard work of three years has paid off. I believe that the law will finally catch up with the offending MLAs,” said Umrao, who practises in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India.
Son of a teacher and a housewife from Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, Umrao has been living in Noida and Delhi since 2009. After his schooling in RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir in his home town, he did his graduation in computer sciences from Ewing Christian College in Allahabad, and later completed a degree in law from Chaudhary Charan Singh University. He has been practising law, mostly family and criminal cases, since 2015.
Soon after Umrao made his foray into the legal profession he found himself taking on the newly formed AAP government in Delhi. On June 19, 2015, less than six months after the new government assumed power, Umrao wrote to the President’s office, questioning the legality of parliamentary secretaries. This was eventually referred to the poll panel which on finally recommended disqualification of the lawmakers on Friday.
Umrao said he was inspired to take up the case after reading a book “Delhi sarkaar ki shaktiyan aur seemayen (powers and limitations of Delhi government)” by former Delhi assembly secretary, SK Sharma.
“There is a chapter on parliamentary secretaries in the book which talks about how their appointment flouts the law. That is when I thought of challenging it,” he said.
A member of the Hindu Sena and of the now-disbanded Hindu Legal Cell, Umrao had previously filed an FIR against actor Aamir Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani for allegedly portraying gods in poor light in the film PK. He also sought an intervention of the Supreme Court when Kanhaiya Kumar sought bail. He also filed a complaint against former Censor Board chief Leela Samson for alleged corruption.
Umrao is active on Twitter with over 32,000 followers.
“I am least bothered about whether the AAP government is derailed or not. All I know is law should not be bent,” he said.