EC to hold hearing for 21 AAP MLAs from July 14

Power games:AAP leaders Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh had spoken to the media after the President refused to clear a Bill that sought to protect the parliamentary secretaries.File photo  

The Election Commission will hold a personal hearing for the 21 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries, from July 14. The MLAs risk being disqualified for holding an ‘office of profit’ — a claim the AAP government has contested.

However, the AAP MLAs said they were yet to receive an official notification from the EC. “We are yet to get any communication from the EC,” said Parliamentary Secretary and Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh.

‘No pecuniary benefit’

The 21 AAP MLAs had sought a personal hearing before the poll body in their reply to a notice sent by the Election Commission last month.

Maintaining that there was no “pecuniary benefit” associated with the post, the MLAs had also said that the post of a ‘parliamentary secretary’ was without any remuneration or power.

It was last year that the AAP had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries to assist ministers in the Delhi government.

Thereafter, the government sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.

Through the Bill, the AAP wanted “retrospective” exemption for the parliamentary secretaries from disqualification provisions.

However, in what came as a major setback two weeks ago, the President refused to clear the Bill.

The EC, which is looking into the issue, has taken “cognizance” of the President’s decision to not sign a Delhi government Bill seeking to exclude the post of Parliamentary Secretary from the ambit of ‘office of profit’.

The L-G, meanwhile, had 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.

Party defends itself

The AAP government, in its defence, came up with a list of parliamentary secretaries appointed in States like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, while in some States they are paid salaries up to Rs. 1 lakh a month and allotted bungalows.

The MLAs said they were yet to receive an official communication

from the Election Commission

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 5:37:04 AM |

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