Delhi High Court will hear the petition filed against the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs on Wednesday. The MLAs had moved the High Court on Tuesday after President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the Election Commission’s recommendations to disqualify the AAP MLAs in office of profit case.
These MLAs are, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh), Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura), Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).
Jairnail Singh, who had resigned from Delhi’s Rajaouri Garden constituency to contest in Punjab assembly elections, was dropped from the list. These MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries soon after AAP won a historic landslide in Delhi.
The party has said the EC ruled against it MLAs without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. Although, both Congress and BJP rubbished these claims, but the newly appointed Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat on Tuesday appeared to have confirmed that argument.
Speaking to Indian Express, Rawat, who had recused himself from hearing the AAP MLAs’ case, said, “Hearing doesn’t always mean [being heard] one-to-one. You make your arguments in writing and provide evidence through documents. Who stopped them?”
Reacting to Rawat’s ‘admission,’ AAP’s Raghav Chadha had said, “In response to OP Rawat’s interview, wherein he tries to justify the illegal judgement against AAP in the OoP case. Firstly,we welcome his admission of not giving AAP MLAs an opportunity of being heard. No greater validation of injustice meted out to us than the man’s own words.
“It is unprecedented that a judicial/quasi judicial body pronounces its judgement without giving a of being heard to parties involved. In Mr.OP Rawat’s own admission this fundamental right of AAP was outrageously violated.”
Chadha also said that had the EC applied the rules equally, the BJP-led government of Chhattisgarh will collapse immediately. He said, “In Chattisgarh 11 of 49 BJP MLAs (of 90 total) facing proceedings for holding OoP. They were given cars,houses & salaries in contrast to AAP MLAs who received no such perks. Surprising that EC hasn’t shown similar alacrity in dealing with it as it languishes for over 2.5 years.”