President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday accepted an Election Commission (EC) recommendation to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members of the Delhi legislative assembly for holding offices of profit.
“...Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission of India, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, in exercise of the powers conferred on me under section 15(4) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, do hereby hold that the aforesaid 20 Members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified for being members of the said Assembly," a notification issued by the law ministry quoted the President as saying.
The Election Commission had recommended the disqualification of the MLAs on Friday. The same day, the Delhi high court declined to grant an interim stay on the recommendation.
“They disqualified 20 MLAs of ours today. When we got 67 seats out of 70, I wondered how we managed to get so many. But three years later, when they have disqualified 20 of our members I think God knew that this will happen and that we should get enough seats that nothing can happen," Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday.
AAP, which has 66 members in the Delhi assembly, will now be reduced to 46 members. While the party continues to enjoy a majority in the assembly, it loses its brute majority in the state.
“Unfortunate that the President took the decision in such haste, without giving us chance to speak. It’s an act of Centre using constitutional institutions. We’ve trust in the judiciary. Doors of high court and Supreme Court are open for us," Alka Lamba, one of the MLAs said.
In March 2015, the Delhi government had appointed 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, one of whom has since resigned from the assembly. The appointments were made to assist cabinet ministers and also include more MLAs in governance.
However, MLAs are legally prohibited from holding offices of profit.