Parliamentary secretaries case: 21 AAP MLAs still face disqualification; party says EC case weak after HC order

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New Delhi | Published: September 9, 2016 12:46:47 PM

Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap says the matters being heard by the HC and the EC are different and the office of profit was not part of the HC order.

21 AAP MLAs, delhi high court, arvind kejriwal, parliamentary secretaries, AAPAAP setback: The HC order said that the 21 Parliamentary secretaries should immediately step down. (Source: PTI)

Even as the Opposition parties are demanding the resignation of the 21 AAP MLAs, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries by the Delhi government, the party says the office of profit case with the Election Commission (EC) has weakened after the Delhi High Court (HC) set aside the appointments yesterday.

Claiming that their role was “advisory” in nature, the parliamentary secretaries said they would continue to assist Delhi Cabinet ministers, The Indian Express reported (IE). Dilip Pandey, convenor, AAP Delhi unit, told IE that the EC would have nothing to hear after the HC deemed the appointments unconstitutional. Pandey also said the HC decision was not a “big jolt” to the AAP government.

“We are not celebrating the decision but it is foolish to say it is a big jolt to the government. The secretaries never enjoyed any pecuniary benefits. They were assisting the ministers purely on a voluntary basis, which they will continue to do,” the IE quoted him as saying.

The daily quoted one of the parliamentary secretaries as saying that the HC decision would not impact AAP government’s work. It is believed by some sections of the party that some departments, such as health, may be affected as they have huge workloads.

However, law experts say the AAP’s argument may not save the MLAs from disqualification.

IE quoted Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap as saying that the matters being heard by the HC and the EC are different and the office of profit was not part of the HC order.

Even as the appointments have been revoked by the HC, Kashyap said, “the issue of disqualification comes from the fact of appointment. There can’t be a retrospective argument. If the EC finds that the office of parliamentary secretary was one of profit, then they can be disqualified.”

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