President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday rejected a Bill passed by the Delhi government that sought to exempt the post of parliamentary secretary from the dual office of profit law. As a result, 21 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party may now face disqualification as they were appointed as parliamentary secretaries in 2015.
The Indian Constitution prohibits legislators from holding an office that would allow them to benefit financially. The Arvind Kejriwal government had passed a Bill seeking the exclusion of parliamentary secretaries from the ambit of law. It was forwarded to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Centre for approval, but the final decision rested with the president. Mukherjee’s decision was made based on the recommendations of the Election Commission.
However, with 67 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, the AAP government does not face the danger of being ousted even if the MLAs are disqualified. The parliamentary secretaries include Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Adarsh Shastri, Madan Lal, Charan Goel, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Jarnail Singh and Rajesh Gupta.