Office of profit case: Delhi High Court sets aside Centre’s notification disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs

NEW DELHI March 23, 2018: The Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the Election Commission of India (ECI) recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLA in connection with the office of profit case. The matter has been sent back to ECI, said media reports.

The bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar passed the order on the grounds that the lawmakers weren’t given a proper hearing, said the reports. The order said: “Opinion of the Election Commission of India is vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice.”

Following the Delhi High Court order, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “Truth has won. The elected representatives of the people of Delhi were falsely dismissed. Delhi High Court gives justice to people of Delhi. Big win of the people of Delhi. Congratulations to the people of Delhi.”

Congress leader Ajay Maken said AAP’s celebrations were premature. He said: “This is a temporary relief. The AAP MLAs should not celebrate. They were holding the post of benefit.”

On January 21, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the disqualification of the MLAs, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government, after the Election Commission of India on January 19 had recommended for the same.

Earlier on January 22, the MLAs withdrew their plea from the High Court that they had filed on January 19 after the ECI’s recommendation. The Delhi High Court, on that date, refused to pass any interim order of protection to those MLAs.

The salaries of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs, who were disqualified for allegedly holding the office of profit, were stopped, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said.