Jolt to AAP govt. as Pranab refuses assent to Delhi Bill

Arvind Kejriwal  

In a jolt to Delhi’s ruling AAP government, President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give assent to a legislation that protects 21 party MLAs, who have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries and face the prospect of disqualification.

Petitions have been filed with the President seeking disqualification of these MLAs on the ground that they occupied office of profit, violating constitutional provisions.

Acting as a quasi judicial body, the Election Commission, to whom the President referred the issue, had sought replies of the MLAs.

The Delhi Government had sought an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.

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

The Bill was forwarded by Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to the Centre which, in turn, sent it to the President with its comments.

After examining the issue, the President has not given his assent to the Bill, official sources said on Monday. On March 13, 2015, Mr. Kejriwal had passed an order appointing the 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries.

Among the 21 parliamentary secretaries are Praveen Kumar to Education Minister, Sharad Kumar to Revenue Minister, Adarsh Shastri to Information and Technology Minister, Madan Lal to Vigilance Minister, Charan Goel to Finance Minister, Sanjeev Jha to Transport Minister, Sarita Singh to Employment Minister, Naresh Yadav to Labour Minister, and Jarnail Singh to Minister of Development.

Apart from them, Anil Kumar Bajpai has been made parliamentary secretary to Health Minister followed by Som Dutt to Industries Minister, Avtar Singh Kalka to Minister of Gurudwara Elections, Vijender Garg Vijay to Minister of PWD, Jarnail Singh to Minister of Power, Kailash Gahlot to Minister of Law, Alka Lamba to Minister of Tourism, and Manoj Kumar to Minister of Food and Civil Supplies. — PTI