President Kovind approves EC’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs in Delhi on charges of holding Office of Profit, an official spokesman said on Sunday.

Following the approval, the Union Law and Justice Ministry issued a notification saying that the President has held that the 20 members of Delhi Legislative Assembly stand disqualified under 15 (1) (a) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) act.

These 20 MLAs are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.

The Election Commission on Friday recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

It gave its opinion to the President on a complaint by advocate Prashant Patel, a member of the Hindu Legal Cell, in June 2015, who petitioned then President Pranab Mukherjee alleging illegality in the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries.

The application by Patel said 21 AAP MLAs, including Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden) who resigned to contest the Punjab Assembly polls last year, were appointed Parliamentary Secretaries to Ministers in the Delhi government in violation of the Constitution.

“We had hoped to go to the President asking him to give us a chance to present ourselves. Now we received this news. AAP will knock the doors of HC and even SC if the need be,” said minister Gopal Rai.

The Congress reacted to the development by alleging that the AAP had received help from the BJP and the Election Commission.

Congress leader Ajay Maken said, “AAP has been helped by BJP and Election Commission by delaying the decision for over three weeks. If the decision had come before December 22, these 20 MLAs would’ve been disqualified and couldn’t have voted for the Rajya Sabha elections.”

However, the development does not threaten the AAP government in Delhi as it has 66 MLAs in the 70-member assembly.

The BJP and the Congress have demanded Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to resign on moral grounds.