The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission to explain why it had recommended the disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs for holding offices of profit, PTI reported. The High Court asked the poll panel to file an affidavit stating the facts on the matter. The court set the next hearing in the case for February 27.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar extended an order restraining the Election Commission from announcing bye-elections to fill the posts of the 20 MLAs. The Aam Aadmi Party legislators have been asked to file their responses to the affidavit before the next hearing.
On Monday, the Delhi High Court had transferred the Aam Aadmi Party’s appeal against the disqualification to a division bench. The party is challenging President Ram Nath Kovind’s decision to disqualify the MLAs based on the recommendation of the Election Commission. Bye-elections have to be held within six months after the Ministry of Home Affairs follows up on the president’s order.
The AAP MLAs alleged that the Election Commission had not given them a fair hearing before sending its recommendation to the president. The MLAs are accused of holding offices of profit in the past as they were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015. This was soon after they were elected to the Delhi Assembly. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court had scrapped their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.