No AAP MLA will face immediate disqualification even if Prez signs order
- NISCHAY PAL
No AAP MLA will face immediate disqualification even if Prez signs order



New Delhi, January 19: NOT A SINGLE MLA of Aam Aadmi Party will face immediate disqualification even if the President of India signs off on the letter of recommendation of the Election Commission of India before the MLAs in question are able to procure relief from the Delhi High Court.

Outgoing Chief Election Commissioner A.K. Joti, who will demit charge on January 23, may not have the satisfaction of seeing the MLAs as disqualified while still in office.

As the EC recommended the wholesale disqualification of 20 MLAs of AAP who were made parliamentary secretaries in Delhi, on the charge that their position amounted to holding office of profit, six of the MLAs knocked at the door of the Delhi High Court on Friday (Jan 19) but the HC did not grant any interim stay on the EC's order.

One reason was that judge, Justice Rekha Palli, did not have before her the order of the EC disqualifying the MLAs. As the case was posted to Monday, January 22, and the judge is expected to pass an order at 4 pm that day, it is possible that President Ram Nath Kovind may sign off on the EC's order by then.
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The MLAs can be disqualified only when the Delhi Assembly chief issues a notification to that effect. As per the established legal procedure, the order, duly signed by the President of India, will come before the Delhi Assembly chief, who, sources told Punjab Today, will sit on it for enough time to enable the AAP MLAs to fight their legal battle.
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Even then, there remains a legal lacuna.

The MLAs can be disqualified only when the Delhi Assembly chief issues a notification to that effect. As per the established legal procedure, the order, duly signed by the President of India, will come before the Delhi Assembly chief, who, sources told Punjab Today, will sit on it for enough time to enable the AAP MLAs to fight their legal battle.

It may give them time to approach the Delhi High Court once again, or the Supreme Court, thus creating enough window for a possible stay or interim stay to take effect.

As of now, the BJP is not in a position to present a fait accompli to Arvind Kejriwal.
 
The only scenario in which the MLAs may face immediate disqualification is if the President signs off on the EC's recommendation before the MLAs are able to procure relief from the court on Monday, or are unable to get relief at all, and the Delhi Assembly speaker signs off on the notification getting rid of the MLAs with equal alacrity. If the Speaker sits on the missive from the President for some time, it will enable the MLAs to knock at the doors of the Supreme Court. In case they fail to get relief even there, then the Delhi Assembly Speaker will have no choice but to sign along the dotted line.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO GOVERNMENTS IN SOME STATES?

Ironically, the latest move of the Election Commission of India may cost the BJP dearly. Arvind Kejriwal's government will remain stable even if he loses all the 20 seats where the EC's action may force an election. But as of now, 11 states in India have parliamentary secretaries, and if the same law is applied there, in six of the states, it will end up toppling the government. Of the six, five have BJP governments.
 
In many states, courts have annulled the position of Parliamentary Secretaries but in no state has an MLA ever been disqualified for having held the office of Parliamentary Secretary. This is the kind of victim card that Kejriwal will take to the people, telling them that the BJP-minded Election Commission has wronged a popular government.

If indeed the BJP’s smart tricks department was at work, it may have given Kejriwal a gift wrapped in victimhood.

EARLIER RULINGS

Delhi is not the only State where the post of Parliamentary Secretary was challenged. Various High Court judgments in the past have deemed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries unconstitutional and have ruled against such appointments.
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Ironically, the latest move of the Election Commission of India may cost the BJP dearly. Arvind Kejriwal's government will remain stable even if he loses all the 20 seats where the EC's action may force an election. But as of now, 11 states in India have parliamentary secretaries, and if the same law is applied there, in six of the states, it will end up toppling the government. Of the six, five have BJP governments.
-----------
The Calcutta High Court, in June 2015, had quashed the appointment of 24 Parliamentary Secretaries in West Bengal while the Bombay High Court in 2009 had scrapped the appointment of two Parliamentary Secretaries in Goa. The Himachal Pradesh High Court took similar action in 2005 against appointment of eight Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and four Parliamentary Secretaries in the State. The Hyderabad High Court stayed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries in Telangana in May 2015. 

Incidentally, the Sahib Singh Verma-led BJP government and the Shiela Dixit-led Congress government in Delhi also had parliamentary secretaries, a fact Arvind Kejriwal will tell the Delhi electorate with considerable relish and anger.

* * *

MLAs whose disqualification was recommended by the Election Commission on January 19:

Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka constituency

Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk constituency

Sanjeev Jha from Burari constituency

Kailash Gehlot from Najafgarh constituency

Vijendra Garg from Rajinder Nagar constituency

Praveen Kumar from Jangpura constituency

Sharad Kumar Chauhan from Narela constituency

Madan Lal Khufiya from Kasturba Nagar constituency

Shiv Charan Goyal from Moti Nagar constituency

Sarita Singh EC from Rohtas Nagar constituency

Naresh Yadav from Mehrauli constituency

Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur constituency

Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri constituency

Anil Kumar Bajpai from Gandhi Nagar constituency

Som Dutt from Sadar Bazar constituency

Avtar Singh from Kalkaji constituency

Sukhvir Singh Dala from Mundka constituency

Manoj Kumar from Kondli constituency

Nitin Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar constituency

Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar constituency
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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