NEW DELHI: In a fresh twist to the hearing on 20 AAP MLAs' pleas against their disqualification in an office-of-profit case, the Election Commission of India (ECI) today produced before the Delhi High Court some confidential documents, saying these cannot be shared with the legislators.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar was informed by the ECI counsel that they were handling certain documents including "personal notings" related to proceedings held in the poll panel.
"We are claiming privilege over these confidential documents, so we cannot supply them to the petitioners (20 AAP MLAs)," poll panel's counsel Amit Sharma said, while producing the papers in a sealed cover before the bench.
The bench asked the ECI counsel to take instruction whether the documents can be supplied to the legislators after concealing the privileged portions.
The documents were produced by the poll panel during the hearing on the pleas of the disqualified MLAs, found guilty of holding office-of-profit as parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the AAP government after it came to power in 2015.
The MLAs had approached the high court challenging their disqualification after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his nod to the ECI recommendation.
Backing their recommendations to the President for AAP MLAs' disqualification, the poll panel today also submitted that the legislators cannot claim that they were not holding office-of-profit.
"They were involved in the day-to-day administrative functions of the ministers, with whom they were attached.
They were not entitled to look into the executive works of the ministers," the ECI's counsel claimed.
The arguments on behalf of the ECI and other parties, which remained inconclusive, will resume tomorrow.
The high court had on January 24 refused to stay the Centre's notification disqualifying them but had restrained the poll panel from taking any "precipitate measures" such as announcing dates for by-polls to fill the vacancies.
The ECI had recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs on January 19.
The President had accepted the ECI's opinion the very next day.