New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI)Aam Aadmi Party Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday hailed the decision of the Election Commission to reject the disqualification of 11 AAP MLAs in the office-of-profit case.
Reacting to the order of President Ram Nath Kovind, rejecting the petition seeking the disqualification of MLAs in the office-of-profit case, Mr Kejriwal said, ‘Ultimately, truth prevails. सत्यमेव जयते।’
Welcoming the decision, AAP leader and Delhi Minister Rajendra Pal said, ‘The petition was based on a false argument. It was bound to be rejected…’
The matter is related to 11 AAP lawmakers occupying the office of co-chairpersons in the District Disaster Management Authorities.
The President’s rejection followed the Election Commission’s observation that DDMA is a statutory body constituted by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and its co-chairpersons are not entitled to any remuneration. Hence, it does not attract disqualification.
After coming to power, the AAP government had given the DDMA co-chairmanship to Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura), Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Dinesh Mohania (Sangam Vihar), Amanatullah Khan (Okhla), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).
A lawyer, Vivek Garg, had filed a petition in March, 2017 before the EC, seeking disqualification of the AAP MLAs, which included Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, claiming that they were enjoying the office-of-profit.
Responding to the EC’s queries in 2017, the AAP government had submitted that the MLAs as co-chairpersons of DDMA were not entitled to any remuneration, like salary, allowances, sitting fee, conveyance or any other facilities.
There were no provisions for office space, supporting staff, residence, telephone or camp office for them, so there was no case of office of profit.
Reacting to the decision, the petitioner said, ‘The decision of the President is based on the recommendations of the Election Commission. The recommendations are a violation of the principles of the natural justice because the EC didn’t call me for any hearing in the last two-and-a-half years. How can a petition be decided without hearing the petitioner and the opposite party?’
The decision comes as a major boost for AAP, ahead of the Assembly polls in Delhi, scheduled early next year.