The Election Commission on Monday produced confidential documents before a Delhi High Court bench that is hearing petitions filed by Aam Aadmi Party legislators against the poll panel’s decision to disqualify them for allegedly holding offices of profit, PTI reported.
“We are claiming privilege over these confidential documents, so we cannot supply them to the petitioners,” the poll panel’s lawyer Amit Sharma told Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar. A number of documents include “personal notings” on proceedings held in the Election Commission, Sharma claimed.
The judges directed the lawyer to ask the Election Commission if the documents could be supplied to the legislators after redacting the privileged portions.
Twenty AAP MLAs are accused of holding offices of profit as they had been appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government in March 2015. Political parties in power usually appoint as parliamentary secretaries those MLAs who are not given a position in the government.
The AAP government 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” after the poll panel issued notices in March 2016. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then claimed that the parliamentary secretaries were “working for free”, but Pranab Mukherjee, who was then the president, rejected the bill in June 2016. In September 2016, the Delhi High Court scrapped their appointment.