Office of profit case: Delhi HC steps in, serves notice to EC, Centre
While issuing a notice to the Election Commission (EC) and the Centre, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted some relief to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs by ruling that no bypolls will be held until the plea of disqualification of 20 of its lawmakers for holding office of profit was adjudged. The court has set January 29 for the next hearing and has asked the Centre and the EC to file their response to the AAP MLAs’ pleas by February 6. The HC has also demanded all the records pertaining to the proceedings leading to the EC decision to disqualify 20 MLAs.
The erstwhile AAP MLAs had moved the High Court against the order of disqualification passed by President Ram Nath Kovind on the recommendation of the EC. As per the election authority, the legislators had held office of profit by serving as parliamentary secretaries and they were liable to be disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi Assembly. The disqualified legislators in their petition have accused the EC of acting in ‘undue haste’ and without giving them an opportunity to present their case. The ex-MLAs also claimed in their petition that the EC had “failed to follow due process of law by not offering the petitioners a full hearing before making the final opinion to the President.”
The courtroom, where the proceedings relating to the case took place, was packed with supporters of AAP MLAs and some senior members of the maverick party which had burst upon the Capital’s electoral scene, sending into near oblivion the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.