Twenty disqualified Aam Aadmi Party legislators on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that they had not received any remuneration, monetary benefits or perks in their capacity as parliamentary secretaries, PTI reported.
Eight AAP MLAs had initially filed a petition against the Election Commission’s recommendation to President Ram Nath Kovind to disqualify 20 of them. On Wednesday, twelve more MLAs moved the High Court, which has now clubbed the petitions and said that it would hear the pleas together.
The MLAs are accused of holding offices of profit, 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 ruled against their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.
Advocate Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the petitioners, said no pecuniary benefit was received by the MLAs and the Election Commission had not considered important information before sending its recommendation.
The High Court, however, said the most important factor of whether someone held an office of profit was “the power of appointment”, PTI reported. “The other factors come in later,” the bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar said. “The emphasis is more on the power of appointment, and if exercised would it create a conflict of interest.”
The court observed that even if no benefit was taken, if a post has the potential of generating profit, then it would be a case of office of profit.
The High Court listed the matter for further hearings on February 12.