EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding 'office of profit'
The Election Commission has recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs in the office of profit case against them, according to media reports.
The commission has made the recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind who will take a final decision.
If the president accepts the recommendation, Delhi will see a mini-assembly election with 20 seats up for grabs in the 70-member House. In the AAP cabinet reshuffle, Kapil Mishra rebelled against the party after he was sacked. AAP MLA from Rajouri Garden quit his post to contest the Punjab Assembly elections but the AAP failed to win the bypoll. After this, the number dropped from 67 MLAs to 63. After the disqualification of 20 MLAs, the AAP's strength will reduce to 42.
No official confirmation from EC
However, there was no official word from the Commission. When contacted, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said since the matter is sub judice, he would not offer any comment on the issue.
Applied in 2016
The Congress had on June 9, 2016, moved the poll panel to seek disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs and has been pursing the matter ever since. The number came down to 20 after Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh resigned to contest against Parkash Singh Badal in the Punjab Assembly elections.
Subsequently, the proceedings were dropped against Jarnail Singh after he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to contest the Punjab Assembly polls in February 2017.
In October last year, the EC had issued a notice to the Aam Aadmi Party lawmakers for an explanation.
In June 2017, the EC rejected the MLAs pleas to drop the "office of profit" case against them and ruled that the disqualification proceedings against them will continue.
In March 2015, the AAP government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exempt the posts of Parliamentary Secretary from the definition of office of profit with retrospective effect.
However, then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, which declared them illegal since the order had been passed "without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor".