New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday sought response of the Election Commission on the plea of 12 AAP MLAs against the poll panel’s decision to continue hearing a complaint against them for allegedly holding office of profit.
Justice Indermeet Kaur issued notice to the EC and sought its reply on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs’ petitions contending that after the high court ruled that their appointments were unconstitutional and set them aside, there was no need for the poll panel to continue hearing the matter.
The court noted in its order that the petitioners were not seeking stay of the EC’s decision at this stage as no next date of hearing was given by the poll panel.
It said that if any date is fixed by EC for hearing the matter, the petitioners can move an application for stay of the proceedings.
The court listed the petitions for hearing on 21 November. Earlier on 4 August, a similar order was passed by the court on the plea of eight other AAP MLAs challenging the same EC decision of 23 June.
The MLAs have contended that the poll panel order was “wholly untenable, unjustified, arbitrary, whimsical and gross abuse of its power".
The office of profit petition was filed by one Prashant Patel against 21 MLAs of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. 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 them unconstitutional.
On September 8, 2016 the high court had set aside the appointments of the 21 AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, while observing that their appointment orders were issued without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor.