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EC begins final arguments in AAP MLAs’ office-of-profit case

The Election Commission on Tuesday commenced final arguments on a petition seeking disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office-of-profit, with the lawmakers pressing for dropping the case as their appointments have already been set aside by the Delhi High Court.

On September 8, the high court had set aside the appointment of 21 party MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. 

The court had said the order to appoint them as Parliamentary Secretaries was given without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor.

The AAP MLAs said in the hearing that since the decision to appoint them as Parliamentary Secretaries has been set aside, they could not be disqualified for holding the office which they no longer enjoy.

But the petitioner, Prashant Patel, insisted during arguments that the court order should have no bearing on the case being heard by the EC as they were enjoying the fruits of that office till their appointment was set aside by the high court. 

He argued that disqualification was necessary as the office of Parliamentary Secretary comes under the ambit of office-of-profit law.

After prolonged arguments, the Commission asked both the parties to file their replies in writing. 

The poll panel could decide on the next date of hearing sometime next week after receiving the replies.

A Bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal had set aside the March 13, 2015 
order after the counsel appearing for the Delhi government “conceded” that it was issued without taking concurrence or views of the Lieutenant Governor. 
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