'Office of Profit' case: EC to continue hearing against 20 AAP MLAs


'Office of Profit' case: EC to continue hearing against 20 AAP MLAs


New Delhi: The Election Commission has said it would continue the hearing in 'Office of Profit' case against 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs. This is yet another setback for AAP as it has already been witnessing serious infighting within the party. "The Commission is of the considered opinion that the respondents did hold de-facto the Office of Parliament Secretaries from 13 March, 2015 to 8 September, 2016 and the interpretation as sought to be put by them (MLAs) on the order of the High Court that they did not hold any office is not legally tenable, " the EC stated in its order. The poll panel has observed that without prejudice to the merits of the case, the reference relating to the question of alleged disqualification of the respondents under section 15 (4) of Government of Delhi Act, for holding the office survives and is maintainable in respect of all the respondents except respondent no 16 (Jarnail Singh, MLA from Rajouri Garden) who had resigned from the post this year. The EC also stated it will intimate the next date of hearing to all the concerned parties in the matter in due course. AAP MLAs were in deep trouble after President Pranab Mukherjee on June 13, 2016 withheld his assent to the Parliamentary Secretaries Bill, aimed at giving exemption to these lawmakers appointed by the Arvind Kejriwal government as Parliamentary Secretaries after a disqualification plea was filed by advocate Prashant Patel in connection with the matter. The Bill was brought by the AAP government in the Delhi Assembly, 2015 to avert the eventuality of disqualification of these MLAs. Notablly, Opposition parties BJP and Congress have been repeatedly demanding their disqualification for holding these posts.

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