President accepted the recommendation of the Election Commission to disqualify the 20 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) the ruling party in the national capital, for holding offices of profit.
A notification issued by the Law Ministry quoted the President as saying, “In the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.”
The AAP MLAs were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries and a petitioner in a complaint to the EC and the President in 2015 said that being a parliamentary secretary was holding an office of profit and this invited disqualification.
A Parliamentary Secretary assists a Minister, and the office usually comes with perks as well as a measure of political influence.
However, in a notification confirming the appointment of the 20 MLAs, the government had said no remuneration or perks would be given to the Parliamentary Secretaries.
The controversy started in 2015, when the AAP came to power with a whopping majority of 67 out of 70 seats and appointed 21 lawmakers as parliamentary secretaries.
Though attempts were made to exclude the post of the parliamentary secretaries from the ambit of ‘office of profit’ by the Arvind Kejriwal government, former President Pranab Mukherjee refused to approve the proposal.