NEW DELHI: In a major embarrassment for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party, President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give consent to ‘The Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill 2015’, which empowers the State government to shield Parliamentary Secretaries from disqualifi-cation.
In other words, 21 Parliamentary Secretaries appointed by the AAP government now face the prospect of disqualification.
In 2015, the AAP government appointed 21 Parliamentary Secretaries to the six Council of Ministers. But as per law, the government can appoint only one Parliamentary Secretary to the CM. Fearing disqualification of its Parliamentary Secretaries as MLAs due to the illegality of holding two offices of profit at once, the AAP government drafted a Bill to give exemption to these secretaries from disqualification with retrospective effect.
The Bill, passed by the Delhi Assembly last year, had proposed amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill 1997 to declare that “the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the chief minister and minister of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi should not be disqualified and should be deemed never to have been disqualified for being chosen as or for being a member of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi”.