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Delhi high court allows AAP MLAs to move Election Commission to summon witnesses in office-of-profit case

The AAP MLAs had filed a batch of pleas before the high court, challenging the ECI order that rejected their demand to cross examine advocate Prashant Patel, the complainant in the office-of-profit case.

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2018 04:07 IST
HT Correspondent
Delhi high court,AAP,Election Commission
On March 23, the Delhi high court had said that the Election Commission’s decision to disqualify the AAP MLAs was in violation of the principles of natural justice and remanded the matter to it for fresh consideration.(File Photo)

The Delhi high court on Monday allowed AAP MLAs to move the Election Commission of India (ECI) to summon witnesses in connection with the office-of-profit case.

The AAP MLAs had filed a batch of pleas before the high court, challenging the ECI order that rejected their demand to cross examine advocate Prashant Patel, the complainant in the office-of-profit case.

Finalising its “draft order” issued on August 16, after both parties agreed to the terms and conditions, a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chandra Shekhar said, “In case a fresh application for summons to evidence is filed by petitioners, the same shall be necessary to be file a consolidated application for summoning the witnesses which may be considered and examined by the ECI on merits and in accordance with law.”

The court also clarified that it had not expressed any opinion or views on the question of office of profit under the government. “The application, if filed, should have details and particulars of why an oral examination in respect of specific documents is required,” the court said.

On March 23, the bench had said that the ECI’s decision to disqualify the MLAs was in violation of the principles of natural justice and remanded the matter to the commission to consider it afresh.

Following this, hearing started afresh and the MLAs had filed an application for cross-examining the main complainant. However, their demand was declined leading to the filing of a fresh petition before the high court. This petition was disposed of on Monday.

In their plea, the AAP MLAs claimed that the ECI arrived at certain conclusive findings of fact (albeit erroneous) while dismissing the application and erroneously held that there is no requirement to cross-examine Patel or that the information furnished by him is derived from public records. Meanwhile, the ECI on Monday adjourned for August 24 its hearing in the case as the high court was in the process of coming out with its order.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 04:07 IST