- Devinder Sehrawat joined the BJP while Lok Sabha polls were on
- Mr Sehrawat to make his arguments directly before the Speaker
- AAP says he let down voters by joining the BJP
Rebel AAP leader Devinder Sehrawat, who joined the BJP while Lok Sabha polls were on, today had a plea challenging his disqualification notice before the Supreme Court. The court declined to interfere with the notice issued by the Delhi Assembly. It told Mr Sehrawat he was required to make his arguments directly before the Speaker.
The Bijwasan legislator had been served a notice last month under the anti-defection law. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed he let down his voters by joining the BJP. Mr Sehrawat claimed he did so because he had been sidelined for four years and accused the party of "ignoring and "cornering" him.
"The matter is pending before the speaker. Why should we interfere?" the court asked, adding, "You have been suspended, not expelled." The plea was heard by a vacation bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice B R Gavai.
Devinder Sehrawat's lawyers withdrew the plea after the court refused to hear it.
In 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Mr Sehrawat to be considered an independent lawmaker.
Mr Sehrawat had argued that since he had not filled the primary membership form of the BJP the disqualification notice was premature.
"Under the existing laws, they (AAP) have not issued a proper notice. Even on the BJP dais, I had said that I have not taken the party membership... There is a due process before seeking my disqualification and I have not received any notice directly from the AAP," he noted.
Mr Sehrawat, a former army colonel, has not quit the party as he would then no longer be a legislator.
He also claimed that while AAP was seeking his disqualification, then BJP leaders Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad participated in several AAP programmes in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls.
In 2016 Devinder Sehrawat was one of two lawmakers who refused to sign a letter seeking the removal of founder members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. The letter was signed by 65 other AAP lawmakers.