Election Commission hearing: AAP MLAs want to cross-examine Delhi government officials

The EC today resumed hearing in the case after the Delhi High Court set aside their disqualification for allegedly holding office-of-profit.

Published: 17th May 2018 07:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2018 07:51 PM   |  A+A-

Election Commission of India (File | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The 20 AAP MLAs, against whom the Election Commission today resumed disqualification hearing, have demanded cross-examination of Delhi government and state assembly officials to prove that their appointment as parliamentary secretaries does not come under the ambit of office-of-profit.

The EC today resumed hearing in the case after the Delhi High Court set aside their disqualification for allegedly holding office-of-profit.

The poll panel's decision to resume hearing came after the high court had termed the EC recommendation as "vitiated" and "bad in law" and directed the commission to hear the issue afresh.

In an application filed before the commission during the hearing, the MLAs said they would like to cross-examine secretary of the Delhi legislative assembly, and officials of the law and accounts departments of the Delhi government to verify whether they derived any "profit" from their work, used official cars and office space in conduct of their duties.

They also demanded cross-examination of Prashant Patel, the complainant.

The officials had filed documents before the EC on the issue of office of profit.

"I have opposed the plea. The Delhi High Court had said the hearing should purely be on the issue of office-of-profit. It is not a civil court where cross examinations take place," Patel later said.

He claimed that the EC, too, was not in favour of cross-examination.

Arguments would continue on May 21.

The high court had said that with the poll body's opinion and the subsequent notification being set aside, the proceedings before the commission would continue from the stage the error and lapse occurred.

The legislators, who were appointed parliamentary secretaries, had challenged their disqualification on the ground of holding office-of-profit.

The MLAs had alleged that the commission had not given a hearing to their pleas since March last year.

The poll panel had maintained that two opportunities were given to file written submissions.

They were accused of holding office-of-profit as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015.

This was soon after they were elected to the assembly.

In September 2016, the high court had ruled against their appointment as parliamentary secretaries after hearing their pleas on a daily basis.

The commission had on January 19 recommended the disqualification of the AAP MLAs -- Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gahlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal and Shiv Charan Goyal.

The others were Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.

President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the commission's opinion the next day.

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