New Delhi, April 13: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal needs to worry more as many of his party MLAs could be disqualified soon. Reportedly, 21 AAP MLAs may be suspended from the Assembly for allegedly holding 'offices of profit' posts.
On Monday, Delhi lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung said that this decision of AAP government is gross violation of GNCT Act which says that Delhi can have only one parliamentary secretary, attached to the office of chief minister.
Many prominent names is in the list of 21 MLAs who are facing the threat of disqualification. Apart from two women MLAs, including Chandni Chowk legislator Alka Lamba, the list includes prominent AAP legislators such as Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri and Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh.
Last year, AAP Government had appointed 21 members of the Delhi Legislature Assembly as 'Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers'. The move was severely criticised not only by BJP but Congress too had slammed the move. Going a step further, an NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha had challenged the move by filing a PIL in the Delhi High Court.
NGO had alleged that these AAP legislators was misusing the taxpayers' money. Parties had also complained to President Pranab Mukherjee regarding the matter.
Earlier, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs sought more time from the Election Commission of India to respond to its show-cause notice over their appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries by the Delhi government last year. EC had sent a notice to these MLA last month.
As per the notice, the 21 AAP legislators, who were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries almost a year ago, must file their replies before the ECI by April 11.
The notice, which seeks their response on why they should not be disqualified, was issued on the basis of a petition filed before the EC by Delhi-based advocate. The petition alleged that the said MLAs occupied offices of profit in violation of the Constitution of India.
"On April 8, we sought time from the Election Commission. In response to the notice, we have said that the information asked by the EC needs to be sought from the General Administration Department (GAD) of the Delhi government," said Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh.
Madanlal, party legislator from Kasturba Nagar, said on April 8, even he has sought time to respond to the notice. However, he is yet to any official communication from the EC about this.
Sources said the MLAs had sought "legal counsel" from the party and the government following which the responses were filed.
What AAP MLAs say
AAP MLAs say that the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries was not the violation of rules.
One of the MLAs who is holding the post was quoted as saying, "You can't call this an office of profit. We are not getting any rooms like the ministers in the Delhi secretariat. Also, what happens in the assembly is a decision taken by the Speaker, not government".
If EC disqualifies these MLAs, then these seats will go for the by-election.
(With inputs from PTI)