Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party still has enough MLAs to run the government, but it might be more vulnerable now with fewer seats.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party still has enough MLAs to run the government, but it might be more vulnerable now with fewer seats.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Office of profit row: 20 Delhi MLAs disqualified, AAP says will take legal course

The elections in these 20 assembly seats will have to be held within six months.
By Gulam Jeelani and Moushumi Das Gupta | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2018 11:45 PM IST

In a big blow to Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), President Ram Nath Kovind approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 party MLAs for violating the law against holding office of profit, a government notification said on Sunday.

These 20 MLAs, including Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot, were parliamentary secretaries in the government, a post that the EC said can be considered an office of profit.

Rashtrapati Bhavan’s decision came a day before the Delhi high court is scheduled to hear the appeal of six AAP legislators against the poll panel on Monday. But on Sunday, the party quickly changed its tactics. Spokesperson Raghav Chadha said: “We will file a fresh petition in the high court challenging the government’s notification on disqualification.”

It was learnt that Kovind signed the file before leaving for a two-day trip to Gujarat on Sunday morning.

“The speed at which the President delivered a 120-page order raises suspicion about many institutions. Wish the same speed while the President and the lieutenant governor sit on legislations passed by the Delhi assembly,” said Saurabh Bhardwaj, another AAP spokesperson.

Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, which swept the Delhi elections in 2015 and came to power with 67 MLAs in the 70-member assembly, is now reduced to 46 MLAs. One legislator, Jarnail Singh, had quit from the assembly last year to contest elections in Punjab.

Chief minister Kejriwal’s party still has enough MLAs to run the government, but it might be more vulnerable now with fewer seats.

The party has gone through internal rift, dissent and even disqualification of four ministers during its short stint in politics.

“They (BJP-led Centre) have victimised us by imposing fake cases on our MLAs. They conducted CBI raids on me and didn’t get anything and today they declared 20 of our MLAs disqualified,” Kejriwal said at a function in Najafgarh on Sunday.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari welcomed the disqualification, saying the President “has made a major contribution towards protecting democratic values”.

The Congress’s Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken demanded chief minister Kejriwal’s resignation and alleged that the BJP and the Election Commission “helped the AAP by delaying the disqualification process”.

All eyes will be on the Delhi high court now. Constitutional experts said the court has the power to set aside the Election Commission’s recommendation.

In case the court does not quash or stay the decision, fresh elections will have to be held in the 20 assembly seats.

“The President didn’t apply his discretion but did what the EC recommended. All such decisions and recommendations are always subject to legal scrutiny. The high court retains the power to turn it down,” said TK Vishwanathan, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha and former law secretary.

According to the government notification issued by the ministry of law and justice, “… having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission of India, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, in exercise of the powers conferred on me under section 15(4) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, do hereby hold that the aforesaid 20 Members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified for being members of the said Assembly.”

“The appointment of the respondent MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries by the GNCTD bypasses and frustrates the objective sought to be achieved by Section 15(1)(a) of the GNCTD Act, 1991 and is also against the principle of legislative oversight of the Government which is the basic tenet of Parliamentary form of Democracy,” the EC said in its exhaustive recommendation to the President.

In June last year, the poll panel said the AAP MLAs “did hold de facto the office of parliamentary secretaries”. The party reacted then by saying it respected the ruling and hinted that it might challenge it in court.

A parliamentary secretary assists a minister, and the office comes with perks as well as a measure of political influence. Often, MLAs who can’t be accommodated in the government are appointed to the post. AAP has maintained that the MLAs did not draw any financial remuneration.

The controversy dates back to the weeks after the party won a majority in the Delhi assembly elections and appointed the lawmakers as parliament secretaries in March 2015.

As protests over the appointments grew, the Kejriwal government sought to shield the MLAs by excluding the post of parliamentary secretary from the ambit of office of profit laws.

But former President Pranab Mukherjee refused to approve it, and referred a private petition in the matter to the Election Commission. Separately, reacting to another private petition, the Delhi high court struck down the posts of parliament secretary in September 2015.

List of 20 AAP MLAs who have been disqualified
S.No. MLA Constituency Ministry/Department
1 Adarsh Shastri Dwarka I&T
2 Alka Lamba Chandni Chowk Tourism
3 Anil Vajpayee Gandhi Nagar Health
4 Avtar Singh Kalkaji Gurdwara elections
5 Kailash Gehilot Najafgarg Law
6 Madan Lal Kasurba Nagar Vigilance
7 Manoj Kumar Kondli Food and Civil Supplies
8 Naresh Yadav Mehrauli Labour
9 Nitin Tyagi Laxmi Nagar Women and Child and Social Welfare
10 Praveen Kumar Jangpura Education
11 Rajesh Gupta Wazirpur Health
12 Rajesh Rishi Janakpuri Health
13 Sanjeev Jha Burari Transport
14 Sarita Singh Rohtas Nagar Employment
15 Som Dutt Sadar Bazar Industries
16 Sharad Kumar Narela Revenue Ministry
17 Shiv Charan Goel Moti Nagar finance
18 Sukhbir Singh Mundka Languages & Welfare of SC/ST/OBC
19 Vijendar Garg Rajinder Nagar PWD
20 Jarnail Singh Tilak Nagar Development

(With PTI inputs)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Damaged security screening stations at Red Fort, a day after the violence in the Capital. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Damaged security screening stations at Red Fort, a day after the violence in the Capital. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

A wall of security around Red Fort as dust of violence settles

By Anvit Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 02:00 AM IST
  • The Red Fort was at the heart of the violence as farmers deviated from their tractor rally routes, barged into the monument, damaged property, and hoisted flags on the ramparts
Close
A tractor rally organised by farmers’ unions representatives protesting against the newly passed farm laws turned violent which left nearly 400 police personnel injured. (HT Photos)
A tractor rally organised by farmers’ unions representatives protesting against the newly passed farm laws turned violent which left nearly 400 police personnel injured. (HT Photos)

Violence at tractor rally: Actor Deep Sidhu, gangster Sidhana named in FIR

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:19 AM IST
  • Farmers’ union representatives also chose to distance themselves from actor Deep Sidhu and his participation in Tuesday afternoon’s violence.
Close
Farmer leaders address a gathering at Tikri border on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)
Farmer leaders address a gathering at Tikri border on Wednesday.(PTI Photo)

Infiltrators defamed our stir: Farmers at Tikri site

By Fareeha Iftikhar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 12:53 AM IST
  • On Tuesday, a group of farmers who started the tractor march from the Tikri border broke police barricades to veer away from the agreed-upon route between the farm unions and Delhi Police.
Close
Red Fort complex is closed off for visitors till January 31(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)
Red Fort complex is closed off for visitors till January 31(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)

Red Fort to remain closed for visitors till January 31: ASI order

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:24 PM IST
Earlier on Wednesday, culture and tourism minister Prahlad Patel visited the site and has sought a report on the incident from the ASI.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Mercury inches upwards, slight relief from the biting cold in Delhi

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 09:35 PM IST
A day after Delhi recorded a minimum temperature of 2
Close
A medic takes a sample from an artist for Covid-19 test, on January 22.(PTI File Photo)
A medic takes a sample from an artist for Covid-19 test, on January 22.(PTI File Photo)

Delhi records 96 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, lowest in over 9 months

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 10:55 PM IST
The disease also claimed nine lives in the said period which pushed the death toll 10,829, according to health bulletin released by state government.
Close
Dense fog rolls on to National Highway-24(NH24) in New Delhi on January 14. Cold wave conditions are expected to continue in Delhi-NCR for at least the next four days, according to scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while pollution levels are likely to further worsen and may even reach the “severe” zone in the coming days.(Raj K Raj / HT Photo)
Dense fog rolls on to National Highway-24(NH24) in New Delhi on January 14. Cold wave conditions are expected to continue in Delhi-NCR for at least the next four days, according to scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while pollution levels are likely to further worsen and may even reach the “severe” zone in the coming days.(Raj K Raj / HT Photo)

Plastic burning main cause behind reduced visibility in Delhi: IIT Madras study

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:03 PM IST
Many studies in the past have identified particulate matter or aerosol particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometre (PM2.5) as a major pollutant, responsible for haze and fog formation over Indo-Gangetic plain, including Delhi.
Close
Farmers vandalise a police vehicle following clashes with Delhi Police during the tractor march, at Nangloi Crossing, in New Delhi on January 26. (Raj K Raj/HT photo)
Farmers vandalise a police vehicle following clashes with Delhi Police during the tractor march, at Nangloi Crossing, in New Delhi on January 26. (Raj K Raj/HT photo)

Tractor rally chaos: FIRs filed under attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 04:10 PM IST
Delhi Police officers said the FIRs have the names of many farmer leaders who have been caught on tape instigating people to break barricades and force their way into the national Capital
Close
Farmers at Ghazipur border re-arrange their camps/tents that were removed Monday because of the tractor rally. (HT Photo)
Farmers at Ghazipur border re-arrange their camps/tents that were removed Monday because of the tractor rally. (HT Photo)

Farmers at Ghazipur protest site say road closure led to Tuesday’s chaos

By Karn Pratap Singh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 01:01 PM IST
Farmer leaders blamed the government, Opposition parties, and the police alleging that they sent hooligans impersonating farmers
Close
Farmers on tractors remove concrete barricades installed to prevent them from entering the city during the tractor rally in New Delhi on January 26.(Sajjad Hussain / AFP)
Farmers on tractors remove concrete barricades installed to prevent them from entering the city during the tractor rally in New Delhi on January 26.(Sajjad Hussain / AFP)

Delhi Police Commissioner holds security review meeting after violence

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 12:23 PM IST
Additional DCP Central's operator was attacked with a sword at ITO on Tuesday during the violence, it added.
Close
Farmers gather at Red Fort during their tractor parade on Republic Day, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Farmers gather at Red Fort during their tractor parade on Republic Day, in New Delhi. (PTI)

Farmers’ tractor rally violence: 22 FIRs filed by Delhi Police so far

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 10:33 AM IST
The national capital descended into chaos as thousands of farmers protesting against the three laws passed in September to reform the agriculture sector on Tuesday stormed into Delhi’s Red Fort
Close
Freedom fighter and late former Union home minister Govind Ballabh Pant’s nine-foot-tall statue. (Source: Parliament Archives)
Freedom fighter and late former Union home minister Govind Ballabh Pant’s nine-foot-tall statue. (Source: Parliament Archives)

Parliament: Govind Ballabh Pant’s relocated statue to be unveiled in Delhi today

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 10:33 AM IST
The statue was the first to be moved out as construction for the new Parliament complex began on January 15
Close
Representational image. (REUTERS)
Representational image. (REUTERS)

Delhi to conduct Covid vaccination drive today to make up for R-Day

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 09:52 AM IST
On Monday, the city had vaccinated 7,408 beneficiaries of the 8,100 targeted, crossing the 90% mark for the first time since the nationwide roll-out of the vaccination drive on January 16
Close
83 police personnel were injured, with several public and private properties being damaged in this act of vandalism by the rioting mob, said the Delhi Police in a release.(PTI)
83 police personnel were injured, with several public and private properties being damaged in this act of vandalism by the rioting mob, said the Delhi Police in a release.(PTI)

Farmers' protest: Ghazipur mandis, NH-9, NH-24 closed, says Delhi traffic police

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 09:51 AM IST
  • Heavy security has been deployed near the Red Fort where a group of protestors climbed to the ramparts of the fort and unfurled flags yesterday.
Close
Representational image. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
Representational image. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

Delhi’s air quality very poor, likely to improve marginally today

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 08:31 AM IST
CPCB recordings show that the overall AQI of Delhi on Tuesday was 330, in the “very poor” zone. This was a slight slip from Monday’s AQI of 323, which was also in the “very poor” category
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP