HC Sets Aside Order to Appoint 21 AAP MLAs as Parl Secretaries
The court’s decision comes as a huge blow to the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government.
In a big blow for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, the Delhi high court has set aside the state government’s order to appoint 21 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.
President Pranab Mukherjee in June refused to sign a bill that allowed the 21 AAP MLAs to hold a second paying position as parliamentary secretary, leaving their fate hanging in balance.
The Election Commission has summoned the legislators to clarify their position on 14 July.
The AAP had earlier defended its decision in the High Court, saying the move does not amount to creation of a “public office”.
“The provision of parliamentary secretary is merely to assist the minister in connection with the public and the rest of the assembly and ensuring a harmonious functioning,” it had said in an affidavit.
After coming to power in February 2015, the AAP government appointed the parliamentary secretaries, saying this would facilitate smooth functioning, but made it clear that they would not receive any remuneration or perks from the government, that is, no burden on the exchequer.
The order, however, permitted them to use government transport for official purposes and earmarked space in the ministers’ offices to help them in the official work.
A public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Rashtriya Mukti Morcha had sought scrapping of the appointments as these were “unconstitutional, illegal and without jurisdiction”.
The PIL said Kejriwal had “no power, jurisdiction or authority” to administer the oath of office to parliamentary secretaries.
The bench earlier refused to stay the government order, saying it required further consideration.
(With agency inputs.)
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