The Aam Aadmi Party has started preparing for bye-elections even as it asked its legislators, who were disqualified on Sunday, to gear up for a legal battle, NDTV reported. The Delhi High Court will hear the lawmakers’ appeal against the Election Commission’s decision at 4 pm on Monday.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 AAP legislators for holding offices of profit while occupying the posts of parliamentary secretaries.

Alka Lamba, who represented Chandni Chowk in the Delhi Assembly, told the news channel that the 20 disqualified lawmakers have confidence in the judiciary but are also prepared to seek a fresh mandate if the courts do not rule in their favour.

“We hope to get justice in the court,” Madan Lal, who represented Kasturba Nagar, said. “If we don’t get justice, we will go to the people’s court, which is the highest court.”

The bye-elections have to be held within six months after the Ministry of Home Affairs follows up on President Ram Nath Kovind’s order to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs.

Office of profit case

Political parties in power usually appoint as parliamentary secretaries those MLAs who are not given a position in the government.

In response to the Election Commission’s notices in March 2016, the AAP had passed a bill amending the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to exempt the post from the definition of “office of profit”. The party maintained that the legislators did not hold offices of profit as they were not getting “pecuniary benefit”.

AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had claimed they were “working for free”. But former President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the bill in June 2016.

In September 2016, the Delhi High Court scrapped the legislators’ appointment as parliamentary secretaries. The MLAs then went to the Election Commission arguing that since the High Court had declared their appointment null and void, the poll panel could not hear a petition against them for holding an office that never existed. The commission did not agree, writing to the president that the MLAs “did hold de facto the office of parliamentary secretaries” from March 13, 2015 to September 8, 2016.