Delhi, August, 25: Twelve more Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs on Friday stepped to the Delhi High Court challenging office of profit proceedings against them by the Election Commission of India.
While hearing the case, HCs asked Poll panel’s response on the plea of AAP MLAs.
Earlier, the HC had on August 4 issued notice to the EC seeking its response on pleas filed by eight other AAP MLAs against the poll panel’s decision to continue disqualification case proceedings against 20 party lawmakers for allegedly holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.
The EC in June had cleared that it would continue to hear the plea, despite the high court turning down their appointments as parliamentary secretaries.
Prashant Patel filed the petition against 21 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.
Subsequently, the proceedings were dropped against Jarnail Singh after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls.
The EC was of the “considered opinion” that the MLAs were “de facto” parliamentary secretaries from March 13, 2015 to September 8, 2016, when the high court had set aside the appointments by terming unconstitutional.
In March 2015, the AAP government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exempt the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the definition of office of profit with retrospective effect.
However, then President Pranab Mukherjee denied to give his assent to it, after which the appointments were rejected by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, terming them illegal, as the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.