Future Tense For 21 AAP Lawmakers After President's No To Kejriwal Bill

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Future Tense For 21 AAP Lawmakers After President's No To Kejriwal Bill

On March 13, 2015, the Arvind Kejriwal government had passed an order appointing the 21 AAP legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Holding office of profit is a violation of Constitution for a lawmaker
  2. The bill, passed by Delhi Assembly last year, needed the President's nod
  3. AAP sources said they may now seek legal recourse
In a setback to the Arvind Kejriwal Government in Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give his nod to a bill amending the law on "Office of Profit," raising questions on the fate of 21 Aam Aadmi Party legislators who had been appointed as Parliamentary secretaries last year.

Holding an office of profit is a violation of the Constitution by an elected member.

The President's letter has been sent to the Law Department of Delhi government, which may now seek legal recourse, said sources in the government.

Home Ministry sources said once the President has refused, the legislators will automatically stand disqualified, making an election in Delhi necessary. AAP has 67 seats in the 70-member assembly.

The contentious bill - meant to exclude the post of parliamentary secretaries from the list of "office of profit" - was passed by the Delhi Assembly last year to validate the post of legislators, who got their appointment on March 13, 2015. The government wanted the bill to give them retrospective exemption. The bill only needed the President's nod.

A petition, meanwhile, was filed with the President, seeking disqualification of the legislators. It said they occupied office of profit in violation of the Constitution.

The President had referred the issue to the Election Commission, which sought the replies of the legislators. Sources in the Election Commission said the issue is pending before the Commission. A date will be fixed for hearing, after which the Commission will decide the fate of the legislators.

Sources in AAP also said there was no question of a re-election as the decision about the fate of the legislators rests with the Election Commission.

As the party held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, many AAP leaders were severely critical of the Centre, saying the President rejected the Bill on the recommendation of the Narendra Modi government. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal targeted the Prime Minister, alleging that he does not respect democracy and was only fearful of the AAP.

In a series of tweets, Mr Kejriwal said no legislator was given a single paisa, car or bungalow in their capacity as Parliamentary Secretary and said they were providing services for free.

"Modiji says all of you should sit at home and not work," he tweeted. The legislators, he claimed, had been tasked to look after power supply, water supply, functioning of hospitals and schools.


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