The Election commission on Monday decided to hear the plea of 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators from July 14, who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries by the Delhi Government last year and are facing the risk of disqualification from the Assembly.
A petition by lawyer Prashant Patel has alleged that the legislators occupied offices of profit in violation of the Constitution.
The Lieutenant Governor has said that the office of parliamentary secretary is defined as an “office of profit if one looks at the statutes of Delhi” and that as per the GNCT Act, the city can have only one parliamentary secretary attached to the office of the Chief Minister.
AAP had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries to assist the Delhi government ministers. Thereafter, the government sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.
Through the Bill, which has been forwarded to the Centre by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, AAP wants “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.
With the President refusing assent to the bill early this month, the 21 ruling party MLAs at present have no legal backing for holding the post of parliamentary secretaries.
The EC, which is examining the issue, has taken “cognisance” of the President’s decision against signing a Delhi government’s bill to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the ambit office of profit.
Maintaining that there was no “pecuniary benefit” associated with the post, the MLAs, in their response to the poll body, also said that that parliamentary secretary is a “post” without any remuneration or power.