AAP legislator H S Phoolka today decided to quit as the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly to continue to appear in courts for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims. A few days back, Phoolka, a Supreme Court lawyer, had indicated that he was ready to give up the cabinet minister status, which he enjoys as the Leader of Opposition to continue to represent the riot victims in courts. He had said the Delhi Bar Council had disallowed him from appearing for the victims in several cases against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others citing that he enjoyed an ‘office of profit’. “I have decided to quit as the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and I have conveyed my decision to the party high command,” he said.
The MLA from Dakha seat said he has recommended the names of AAP MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Kanwar Sandhu and Aman Arora, in accordance to their seniority, to the party high command to elect the Leader of Opposition from among them in consultation with other party legislators. The party will soon take a decision in this regard, Phoolka said. The AAP leader said that he had requested the Delhi Bar Council to allow him appear in the court for the 1984 anti- Sikh riot victims as he was fighting the cases free of charge.
“But my pleas were not accepted,” he said. Phoolka said he had been fighting these cases for a long time and these had reached a very “crucial” stage. “My presence in anti-Sikh riot cases is important at this stage that is why I decided to quit as the Leader of Opposition,” he said. Last Wednesday, Phoolka had tweeted, “Will not give up ’84 carnage cases. Asking Bar Council if by giving up minister status, I can appear in these cases.” Two days earlier, he had said on the microblogging site, “Sought permission to do ’84 carnage case pro bono, Bar Council should realise, it doesn’t amount to practice, rather should encourage it. Seek review.”
After becoming the main opposition party in Punjab following the polls in the state earlier this year, AAP had chosen Phoolka as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.