State facts be­hind dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of MLAs: HC to EC

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - - Metro -

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion (EC) to state the facts be­hind its de­ci­sion to dis­qual­ify the 20 AAP MLAs for hold­ing of­fice of profit by fil­ing an af­fi­davit.

A bench of Jus­tices San­jiv Khanna and Chan­der Shekhar asked the poll panel to file the af­fi­davit af­ter the EC said it wanted to re­spond to some of the al­le­ga­tions made in the MLAs’ pleas chal­leng­ing their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from the Delhi Assem­bly.

The com­mis­sion also told the court that it would rely upon the opin­ion it gave to the Pres­i­dent to dis­qual­ify the 20 AAP MLAs who were ap­pointed as par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries.

When the mat­ter was taken up for hear­ing ini­tially, the court asked the pe­ti­tion­ers to go through the poll panel’s syn­op­sis of the case and then de­cide if af­fi­davits are needed. Sub­se­quently, the mat­ter was taken up again af­ter ev­ery­one pe­rused the EC’s syn­op­sis.

In the sec­ond round of pro­ceed­ings, the bench said that the 250-page long syn­op­sis, con­tain­ing var­i­ous doc­u­ments, was very big and asked the EC to file a shorter one on af­fi­davit. “A syn­op­sis of 250 pages. It can­not be that big,” the court ob­served.

Af­ter the brief pro­ceed­ings, the court listed the mat­ter for fur­ther hear­ing on Fe­bru­ary 7 by when the MLAs have to file their re­sponses to the EC af­fi­davit.

It al­lowed ad­vo­cate Prashant Pa­tel, on whose plea the EC had rec­om­mended the MLAs dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion which re­ceived the pres­i­den­tial nod, to state his stand on the MLAs’ pleas.

The court also ex­tended till Fe­bru­ary 7 the in­terim or­der re­strain­ing the EC from is­su­ing any no­ti­fi­ca­tion an­nounc­ing bye-elec­tions to fill the va­can­cies of the 20 assem­bly seats whose leg­is­la­tors have been dis­qual­i­fied.

The mat­ter was trans­ferred to a di­vi­sion bench on Mon­day af­ter Pa­tel moved an ap­pli­ca­tion for trans­fer of the pe­ti­tions to a di­vi­sion bench.

The high court had on Jan­uary 24 re­fused to stay the Cen­tre’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion dis­qual­i­fy­ing the MLAs, but re­strained the EC from tak­ing any “pre­cip­i­tate mea­sures” like an­nounc­ing dates for by-polls.

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