Office of Profit case updates: AAP withdraws plea on MLAs' disqualification, Delhi HC to hear main petition on 20 March

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Office of Profit case updates: AAP withdraws plea on MLAs' disqualification, Delhi HC to hear main petition on 20 March
  • 17:26 (IST)

    Delhi HC will hear main petition on 20 March

    The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear the Aam Aadmi Party's main petition challenging the maintainability of the proceedings at the Election Commission of India. The matter will be heard on 20 March. 

  • 17:21 (IST)

    AAP to file fresh petition on disqualification after examining President's order

    AAP MLAs' counsel told the Delhi High Court that he will file an appeal after examining President's order disqualifying 20 MLAs in office of profit case.

  • 17:02 (IST)

    Delhi High Court to hear AAP's main petition on 20 March; party withdrew application relating to disqualification only 

  • he Indian Express   reported.  ">

    16:57 (IST)

    AAP demands disqualification of 116 BJP MLAs in Madhya Pradesh for Holding Office of Profit; 4 Haryana MLAs too face similar charges

    AAP has demanded that the Election Commission show similar haste and take action against 116 BJP legislators in Madhya Pradesh as they too hold posts that come under the ambit of Office of Profit.

    “Of the MLAs in question in 2016, most are members of Jan Bhagidari samitis of colleges which comes under office of profit," former state AAP secretary Akshay Hunka told News18. He said that while these MLAs are not paid salaries, they do get travel allowances from colleges.

    "Two ministers - Paras Jain and Deepak Joshi – also hold office of profit by virtue of being office bearers of Indian Scout and Guide," he said, adding that several more ministers would have fallen under the ambit in the last couple of years, according to News18. 

    Meanwhile, in a seperate but related development, a petition was filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court against four BJP MLAs who had been earlier appointed as chief parliamentary secretaries by the Haryana government, but they were removed after the high court last year quashed their appointments, The Indian Express reported. 

  • 16:50 (IST)

    AAP withdraws plea as it was filed before President's decision; will file fresh petition

    The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has withdrawn plea seeking interim relief for its 20 disqualified MLAs, saying that the plea was filed before the President's decision came. The party will file a fresh petition in the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the order disqualifying its MLAs, on the grounds that the poll panel did not grant them a fair hearing. The party will also argue that the MLAs did not obtain any profit as alleged parliamentary secretaries. 

  • 16:44 (IST)

    AAP withdraws plea from Delhi HC

  • 16:23 (IST)

    EC tells Delhi HC it recommended AAP MLA's disqualificiation on 19 Jan

  • 16:19 (IST)

    Why the haste to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs, asks Shiv Sena

    The Shiv Sena on Monday raised questions over "the haste" with which 20 legislators of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi were disqualified for holding 'office of profit'.

    "This is an unprecedented incident in which so many elected legislators have been disqualified in a wholesale manner. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is facing a crisis, and that is because of the public campaign against corruption and injustice," the Shiv Sena said.

    There were similar complaints against legislators during the tenure of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, and even now in different states, but their positions have remained intact.

    In the case of AAP's 20 legislators, the EC has acted in haste, that is the opinion of even former ECI officials, and that too, without giving them an opportunity to present their case, it said.

    "The EC gave its ruling on the complaints against these legislators without a hearing in the matter or giving the 20 AAP elected representatives a chance to explain themselves. This is wrong," the Sena said.

  • 15:59 (IST)

    Politics in matters of welfare is treason: Arvind Kejriwal

    Speaking at a rally in Nazafgarh area, Delhi Chief Minister said, "I feel that there should be no politics in matters of welfare of the people. If you want to do politics, do it before elections. When a party wins, it is the duty of every party to work for the people and the country. Politics in matters of welfare is treason.”

    According to The Indian Express, the party has already sounded the poll bugle as by-polls in 20 Delhi seats increasingly become a possibility. 

  • 15:53 (IST)

    Yashwant Sinha calls disqualification of AAP MLAs 'Tughlaqshahi'

  • 15:50 (IST)

    Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh says Office of Profit case could bring about rift in AAP

  • 15:39 (IST)

    Lawyer who brought up Office of Profit matter claims threat to life, meets Union Minister Vijay Goel

  • 15:36 (IST)

    No MLA has taken any profit as Parliamentary Secretary: Alka Lamba

    Former Delhi MP from Chandani Chowk Alka Lamba said that the party was facing a witch hunt launched by the BJP. She said that none of the disqualified AAP MLAs have ever taken any salary or benefit as parliamentary secretary. She said that as politicians, they were not afraid of the polls but will pursue the maater in the court to fight against the injustice of the whole matter. 

  • 15:30 (IST)

    AAP MLAs disqualification case: A quick recap

    • EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding an office of profit while being elected representatives in the Delhi Assembly
    • President Ram Nath Kovind gave his nod to the EC recommendation on Sunday
    • Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had appointed 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries in 2015, which was deemed an office of profit. The Delhi government later also tried to pass a legislation excluding the post of parliamentary secretaries from list of office of profit, but the legislation was quashed. 
    • AAP had moved Delhi HC on Friday, soon after the news broke out about the EC's recommendation. The court denied interim relief but agreed to hear the matter. 

  • 15:17 (IST)

    'EC rejects AAPs claim of not being heard': Prashant Patel, Lawyer who highlighted Office of Profit case

  • 15:10 (IST)

    Manish Sisodia writes open letter to people of Delhi, asks "Is this fair?"

  • 15:04 (IST)

    Be prepared for both legal & electoral battles: AAP to 20 MLAs

    Fight the battle legally but be prepared for the by-polls as well. That's the message the Aam Aadmi Party has given to its 20 disqualified lawmakers.
    Sources in the AAP said, although the party would take all possible legal recourse, the MLAs have been sounded out to be prepared for any eventuality, which is a likely by-poll.

    PTI

  • 15:00 (IST)

    Delhi High Court to hear matter at 4 pm

    The Delhi High Court is scheduled to hear a plea on Monday regarding the disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs in Delhi on charges of holding Office of Profit. Six AAP MLAs had approached the Delhi High Court on Friday, after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of the party's MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries. The court had, however, refused to grant interim relief to the AAP MLAs, listing the matter for further hearing on Monday.

  • 14:54 (IST)

    Updates for Monday, 22 January begin

  • 17:49 (IST)

    Jarnail Singh says they are ready to go to any court

  • 17:43 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal says 'hurdles are natural' on path of truth

    Hours after news of the Election Commission ECI recommending the disqualification of 20 AAP legislators for holding "office of profit" broke out, Arvind Kejriwal said that "hurdles naturally come when one walks on the path of truth".

  • 17:33 (IST)

    Manish Sisodia calls EC's recommendation to disqualify MLAs 'unconstitutional'

  • 16:54 (IST)

    Meanwhile, Delhi BJP discusses bypolls to 20 Assembly seats

    The Delhi BJP has begun serious parleys on the possibility of bypolls to 20 Assembly segments after the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs. The BJP leaders discussed the issue in a meeting of the party's core committee members on Friday night, party sources told PTI.

    "The matter was discussed in detail along with other issues like the sealing drive underway in north and south Delhi," said a senior party leader who attended the meeting.

  • 16:46 (IST)

    Manish Sisodia appeals to president to hear AAP's view

  • 16:31 (IST)

    Gopal Rai says AAP 'not afraid of elections'

    The Aam Aadmi Party has claimed to be "victimised" in the wake of the EC's recommendation to disqualify its 20 MLAs for holding offices of profit, and asserted that it was "not afraid of elections".

    AAP's Delhi unit chief Gopal Rai alleged that the poll panel failed to give the party a hearing before sending its recommendations to President Ram Nath Kovind. "It is an undemocratic step. They are taking revenge from people of Delhi, the government and chief minister of Delhi," he said.

  • 16:28 (IST)

    AAP leaders huddle at Arvind Kejriwal's residence

  • 14:40 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal to hold meeting with the 20 MLAs at 4.30 pm at his residence: CNN-News18

  • 13:55 (IST)

    There is a question mark on EC's decision: Shiv Sena

  • 13:45 (IST)

    Internal AAP survey shows party will lose all 20 seats if bypolls are held today: Kapil Mishra

    Kapil Mishra claimed that an internal AAP survey showed that the party was not confident of winning back a single seat after the disqualification of 20 of its MLAs if bypolls were held today, reported India Today.

    Mishra also claimed that the report "recommends 12 ticket changes including (those of) Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sarita Singh (and) Praveen Deshmukh".

  • 13:32 (IST)

    CEC AK Joti working for his boss Narendra Modi: AAP

  • 13:28 (IST)

    My suggestions were ignored: Kumar Vishwas

  • 13:22 (IST)

    Election Commission has given Narendra Modi a gift: AAP

    "The Election Commission, by taking action against 20 MLAs, has given Narendra Modi a gift. But this is dangerous for the country," said AAP leader Gopal Rai.

    "Delhi government has not given even one rupee to any Parliamentary secretary," Rai further said.

    "What has the Delhi MLAs done? Is it only because they belong to AAP? You (EC) are the boss. You can do anything. But history is watching," said the AAP leader.

    "You are murdering democracy," Rai said.

  • 13:15 (IST)

    EC working at the behest of BJP: AAP

    According to various news reports, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that the "Election Commission is acting like Narendra Modi's agent."

    "The Modi government is violating institutions of democracy," Singh added.

  • 13:14 (IST)

    Updates begin for 20 January

  • 21:30 (IST)

    Kejriwal breaks silence on conntroversy, says truth will prevail

  • 19:50 (IST)

    Kapil Mishra claims 20 AAP MLAs were given offices as Parliamentary Secretaries

  • 19:11 (IST)

    Delhi High Court to hear AAP MLAs' plea against EC's decision on Monday

  • 19:04 (IST)

    Original petitioner in case, lawyer Prashant Patel says Delhi HC can't interfere in case

  • 19:00 (IST)

    Kapil Mishra releases video revealing 'truth' of the controversy

  • 18:55 (IST)

    Past precedents of office of profit case and what was the outcome 

    In 2006, a question was raised over Sonia's National Advisory Council post, which she held apart from being the MP from Rae Bareilly.

    The Opposition parties at the time had argued that since as NAC chairperson, she enjoyed the rank and status of a Union Cabinet minister, the office of profit law applied. They had petitioned the then president APJ Abdul Kalam, asking him to disqualify Sonia as an MP. Congress leaders, meanwhile, had argued that the post of NAC chairperson was not an office of profit as Sonia received no salary or perks, and she had a purely advisory role. Sonia, however, quit as MP and recontested the elections. 

    According to Rediff, the Election Commission had also sent a notice to Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, Rajya Sabha member and chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Council, on a similar petition against him.

    Jaya Bachchan was also disqualified from the Rajya Sabha, while she was also chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Federation. Similarly, two Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly members, Bajrang Bahadur Singh and Uma Shankar Singh, were disqualified in January 2015 due to holding government contracts.

  • 18:20 (IST)

    EC issued summons to AAP MLAs, party tells court

    According to CNN-News18, the Delhi High Court asked that the AAP MLAs whether or not the Election Commission issued them a notice. To this, the AAP MLAs responded in affirmative, but they argued that the EC summon did not mention the date of hearing. 

  • 18:12 (IST)

    Delhi HC says can't stay EC order disqualifying MLAs: India Today report

    The Delhi High Court has said that it cannot stay the disqualification order issued by the Election Commission, Indiia Today tv reported. The report further said that the court said that it has already held the office held by AAP MLAs illegal. 

  • 17:50 (IST)

    Mamata Banerjee backs Arvind Kejriwal, says constitutional body can't be used for political vendetta

  • 17:47 (IST)

    AAP hits out at AK Joti, says CEC mortgaged constitutional post 

    "A K Joti was the principal secretary under (the then Gujarat Chief Minister) Narendra Modi and then the chief secretary of Gujarat. He is retiring on Monday. So you want to repay Modi ji's debt. You are mortgaging a constitutional post like the Election Commission," AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged. 

     
    Joti, an IAS officer of 1975 batch of Gujarat cadre, took charge as an election commissioner in 2015.
     
     
    "The hearing before the Election Commission was not about disqualification. The ongoing hearing was whether the Election Commission can hear the Office of Profit proceedings when the Delhi High Court has stated that they are not parliamentary secretaries," Bharadwaj claimed. 

  • 17:43 (IST)

    BJP says EC's recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs is a 'moral defeat' for Arvind Kejriwal

    Regretting that the Election Commission allowed "undue" adjournments of hearings of AAP MLAs, which "dearly cost" the people, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said the party unit "stands prepared for elections any moment".

    "We welcome the Election Commission decision disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs. Arvind Kejriwal should take responsibility for moral defeat and resign," he said.

    "Taking advantage of this delay, the AAP has succeeded in sending three persons to the Rajya Sabha and in the process has also sullied the image of the Upper House of Parliament," he said.

  • 17:37 (IST)

    List of AAP legislators who face the axe

    • Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka constituency
    • Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk constituency
    • Sanjeev Jha from Burari constituency
    • Kailash Gehlot from Najafgarh constituency
    • Vijendra Garg from Rajinder Nagar constituency
    • Praveen Kumar from Jangpura constituency
    • Sharad Kumar Chauhan from Narela constituency
    • Madan Lal Khufiya from Kasturba Nagar constituency
    • Shiv Charan Goyal from Moti Nagar constituency
    • Sarita Singh from Rohtas Nagar constituency
    • Naresh Yadav from Mehrauli constituency
    • Rajesh Gupta from Wazirpur constituency
    • Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri constituency
    • Anil Kumar Bajpai from Gandhi Nagar constituency
    • Som Dutt from Sadar Bazar constituency
    • Avtar Singh from Kalkaji constituency
    • Sukhvir Singh Dala from Mundka constituency
    • Manoj Kumar from Kondli constituency
    • Nitin Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar constituency
    • Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar constituency

  • Read the full article here ">

    17:35 (IST)

    AAP may retain power despite storm: Office of profit case will make voters rally behind Arvind Kejriwal

    Today's developments come at a time when rift inside the party became apparent due to Kapil Mishra’s exit and denial of Rajya Sabha ticket to Kumar Vishwas. Some TV news channels are already predicting snap polls in Delhi. Is the situation as grim for AAP as some reports have projected?

    Actually, this crisis couldn't have come at a better time for Kejriwal. He has been accused of selling Rajya Sabha seats and giving it to outsiders who just joined the party. Delhi voters have been witness to the constant meddling from the Lieutenant Governor in AAP’s attempts in managing the affairs of the state. The party has been fined for carrying advertisements in other states when most governments also give ads in papers outside their states. The ED has filed cases against AAP for receiving foreign funding when BJP has already been convicted for receiving foreign funds from a high court. All this will give credence to AAP’s theory that the central government is trying to destabilise the Kejriwal government and Narendra Modi-Amit Shah have still not recovered from the massive loss in Delhi.

    Read the full article here

  • 17:19 (IST)

    Hearing on 20 AAP MLA's disqualification begins in Delhi HC

  • 17:09 (IST)

    What is an office of profit?

    Although, an office of profit, is not defined in the Constitution, the poll panel has previously noted that any position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries some remuneration, financial advantage, benefit etc. The amount of such profit is immaterial.

    Based on various Supreme Court judgements, four tests have been established. 

    •  First, whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office.
    • Second, whether the office has any remuneration attached to it.
    • Third, whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licences etc.)
    • Fourth, whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.

  • 17:02 (IST)

    20 AAP MLAs move HC against disqualification, matter to be heard today

    AAP MLAs moved Delhi High Court against Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify them for allegedly holding offices of profit.

     
    The pleas by seven MLAs was mentioned before a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal for urgent hearing, which was listed for today itself, PTI reported. 

Latest update: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has withdrawn plea seeking interim relief for its 20 disqualified MLAs, saying that the plea was filed before the President's decision came. The party's lawyer told the court that their plea has become infructuous as President has accepted EC recommendation
and notification disqualifying them has been issued. The party will file a fresh petition in the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the order disqualifying its MLAs, on the grounds that the poll panel did not grant them a fair hearing. The party will also argue that the MLAs did not obtain any profit as alleged parliamentary secretaries. Meanwhile, the main petition on the Office of Profit case will be heard on 20 March.

Six AAP MLAs had approached the Delhi High Court on Friday, after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of the party's MLAs for holding office of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries. The court had, however, refused to grant interim relief to the AAP MLAs, listing the matter for further hearing on Monday.

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind had earlier on Sunday approved the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify the legislators.

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.

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

File image of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

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.

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.

Now if AAP fails to get reprieve from the courts, Delhi will have by-polls for the 20 seats. The only technical aspect was that now the Delhi Assembly Speaker will have to notify the 20 vacancies for the Election Commission to announce the by-polls.

Once the vacancies are announced by the Assembly, the AAP's strength would go down to 46 from 66 in the 70-member House. However, it will continue to have a majority to run the state.

While, the BJP welcomed the president's decision and demanded Kejriwal's resignation on moral grounds, the Congress alleged that there was a deal between the BJP and the AAP due to which the EC delayed the disqualification recommendation by a month.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, "There was some logic when God gave us 67 seats. The Almighty stood behind us in our every step. Otherwise we would have been nothing... Just don't stray away from the path of truth."

He told a gathering in Najafgarh, "They are trying to harass us by all means... They got CBI raid done at my office, but after 24-hour search they only found my four mufflers. Our MLAs were arrested."

"The L-G had called 400 files of our government (pertaining to decisions taken in two years), but when they did not find anything against us... they today disqualified our 20 MLAs."

Interestingly, BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha backed the AAP with the former saying the decison depicts "tughluqshahi" of the worst order.

"President's order disqualifying the 20 AAP MLAs is complete miscarriage of natural justice. No hearing, no waiting for High Court's order. It is Tughluqshahi of the worst order," Yashwant Sinha tweeted.

Shatrughan Sinha said the "politics of vendetta" against the AAP would not last long. AAP leader Ashutosh said the president's order is "unconstitutional" and "dangerous for democracy."

Saurab Bharadwaj, chief spokesperson of the party's Delhi unit alleged the chief election commissioner and the election commissioners are expected to behave in an independent and impartial manner and not as "political stooges of their masters who appoint them".

"The Election Commission is a constitutional institution of continuity and not a retired members club of a group of political appointees," he said.

"A first reading of the Narendra Modi government appointed Election Commission's biased opinion and subsequent notification issued by the BJP's central government to hastily disqualify 20 elected Delhi MLAs shows the constitutional authorities today are behaving like handmaidens of the central government," he alleged.

Citing a poll panel order, Bharadwaj said in June last year, the then Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioner AK Joti had said the commission will intimate the next date of hearing to all the parties concerned in the present proceedings in due course.

However, the date of next hearing was not conveyed and the poll panel arrived at the decision before hearing them out, he claimed.

"AAP has complete faith in the judiciary and will challenge this biased, illegal and illogical order of the Modi government in courts of law," Bharadwaj said.

AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and this was described by petitioner Prashant Patel as them holding offices of profit. Parliamentary Secretaries assist ministers with their work. AAP insisted that despite holding the office these MLAs did not take any salaries or perks.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 17:38 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 17:38 PM

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