New Delhi: In a major relief for the Aam Aadmi Party, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday dismissed a plea to disqualify 27 of the party MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit by being appointed as chairpersons of Rogi Kalyan Samitis attached to various city hospitals.
The President signed the order dismissing the plea based on an opinion given by the Election Commission (EC) in July, a senior poll panel functionary said Thursday. The EC had found no merit in the plea.
Such pleas are sent to the President who forwards it to the EC. The EC then gives its opinion based on which the President has to issue orders.
According to an order issued by the Delhi government’s health and family welfare department on April 26, the ‘Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ (Patient Welfare Committees) are advisory in nature which will assist health facilities, develop and customise strategies among others.
It stated that each ‘Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samiti’ will be provided Rs 3 lakh per annum as grand-in aid.
Earlier, the Election Commission had rejected a plea by the 20 AAP lawmakers to cross examine the petitioner in the office of profit case Prashant Patel.
The MLAs had then moved the Delhi High Court against the EC order. The high court had maintained that while Patel cannot be cross examined as a witness, the MLAs can move a fresh plea before the EC to cross examine Delhi government officials.
While giving its order, the EC quoted the Delhi High Court verdict which had said that if the MLAs file an application to summon officials as witnesses, it should have full details and particulars on why oral examination in respect of a specific documents is required.
The EC said the application lacked the details and was not filed in the prescribed format.
“… These details cannot even be ascertained by perusing the application as … they have only mentioned that ‘concerned official’ from certain departments may be summoned for examination and no specific name of a witness has been supplied …The omission of names and details of the witnesses makes it impossible to issue summons and this application deserves to be rejected on this very ground,” the order said.
The AAP MLAs had said that they were filing the application to bring out clear factual matrix on whether they held an office of profit under the government as alleged by the petitioner.
The Election Commission is hearing afresh the case related to disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office-of-profit by virtue of their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.
The EC had, on January 19, recommended the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs. President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the poll panel’s opinion the next day.
But the EC’s move was quashed by the Delhi High Court, terming it “bad in law”.