NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday gave a major relief to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) by restoring the membership of the party’s 20 disqualified MLAs.The court referred the case back to the Election Commission (EC), saying its opinion on disqualifying the MLAs was ‘vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice’ since it did not give the MLAs an opportunity to present their case.
The AAP welcomed the decision, claiming that it was a ‘dent’ in the EC’s image.On January 19, the EC recommended that 20 AAP MLAs be disqualified for holding offices of profit. Two days later, President Ram Nath Kovind approved it. Later, the MLAs moved the High Court claiming that the EC did not hear them properly.
In its order, a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar of the Delhi High Court said: “Order of remand is passed to the EC to hear arguments and thereafter decide the all-important and seminal issue; what is meant by the expression ‘office of profit held under the Government’ and re-examine the factual matrix to decide whether the petitioners had incurred disqualification on appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, without being influenced by the earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order.”
Opposition parties, meanwhile, claim the AAP has merely got temporary relief.