“The petition was moved on June 21, 2016, by Vibhor Anand, claiming that the AAP MLAs were holding many office of profit under the state’s government.”
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday, rejected a petition to disqualify 27 members of the Delhi’s legislative assembly, who were alleged for holding office of profit under the capital city government. All these members were from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
As part of procedure, such pleas are sent to the President, who forwards it to the Election Commission for opinion. The EC then gives its opinion, based on which the President has to issue orders.
The AAP, welcoming the order, on its part alleged that “such fake and false complaints by vested interests” were filed to “distract the MLAs and to create hurdles in their public welfare functioning”.
In a five-page order signed by him on October 15, the President dismissed the plea based on opinion given by the EC on July 10 which found no merit in the plea. The petition was moved on June 21, 2016, by Vibhor Anand, claiming that the AAP MLAs were in a position to “interfere” in the day-to-day administration of these hospitals and hence, held office of profit.
“Now, therefore, having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission of India, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me under Section l5 of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, do hereby hold that the petition dated June 21, 2016, filed by Shri Vibhor Anand, on the question of alleged disqualification of Ms. Alka Lamba and 26 other Members of Delhi Legislative Assembly, is not maintainable,” the order signed by Mr. Kovind stated.
The 27 MLAs against whom the petition was filed include Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Jagdeep Singh (Hari Nagar), Bandana Kumari (Shalimar Bagh), Ajesh Yadav (Badli), S.K. Bagga (Krishna Nagar), Jitendra Singh Tomar (Tri Nagar), Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri), Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Ram Niwas Goel (Shahdara), Vishesh Ravi (Karol Bagh), Jarnail Singh (Rajouri Garden), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli).
The remaining MLAs inlcude Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Ved Prakash (Bawana), Somnath Bharti (Malviya Nagar), Pankaj Pushkar (Timarpur), Rajendra Pal Gautam (Seemapuri), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh), Hazari Lal Chauhan (Patel Nagar), Sharad Kumar Chauhan, (Narela), Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Rakhi Birla (Mangolpuri), Mohammad Ishraque (Seelampur), Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Surender Singh (Delhi Cantonment) and Mohinder Goyal (Rithala).
The EC, in its opinion, said that “it is pertinent to note that while it is an established fact that some of the respondents have never been appointed to the said office, the finding that the said office falls under exempted category makes it redundant to comment on the cause of non-disqualification individually”.
‘Defeat of the BJP’
Welcoming the President’s decision, party spokesperson Dilip Pandey said the move defeated BJP’s attempt at “undermining” constitutional institutions in the country.
The AAP, in a detailed statement issued later in the day, said, “Most unfortunately, the EC not only decided to entertain such a trash as a petition but also has decided to initiate the proceedings on the basis of rubbish which in normal circumstances would have been consigned to the dustbin.”
Meanwhile, the ruling came as a shot in the arm for the AAP, which questioned the independence of the EC and stated that “fake and false” complaints of holding office of profit against its 27 MLAs should have been consigned to the “dustbin” in the first place.