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Delhi High Court questions CEC Rawat's flip-flop — AAP MLAs disqualification

Delhi High Court questions CEC Rawat's flip-flop — AAP MLAs disqualification

In a big relief to 20 AAP MLAs in the office of profit case, the Delhi High Court today has restored their membership even though they were disqualified by Election Commission.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar quashed the Centre's notification on the EC's opinion to disqualify the MLAs and sent the issue back to the poll panel, rejecting its contention that having given its opinion it had become "functus officio and hence remand is not possible". The court has now transferred the matter to the Election Commission allowing the AAP MLAs a chance to present their side through an oral hearing, media reports said. "The truth has triumphed".

Kejriwal said that Delhi High court has given justice to the people of Delhi.

The EC's decision to disqualify AAP MLAs was not only constitutionally invalid but it also exposes how low the constitutional authority can stoop, he claimed.

The AAP had defended their appointment, saying they did not avail any perks or salaries, and that their appointments were only aimed at aiding the Delhi government ministers. The law says that elected representatives can't hold "office of profit" during their tenure.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh said the decision of the poll panel to disqualify the MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit was an attempt to hijack the mandate of the people.

Lawyer and petitioner, Prashant Patel, "The court has said this case will be reopened".

The party said the BJP's government in Manipur is functioning in complete violation of the constitutional laws. "There is no setback for me".

In one of the last key orders he issued before demitting office, Joti had recommended disqualification of the 20 MLAs to the President on 19 January. Of the 21, Jarnail Singh had resigned from the assembly to contest the Punjab elections. They had approached the High Court challenging their disqualification after President Kovind gave his assent to the EC's recommendation.

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj hailed the verdict as well.

"When they didn't take office of profit, the question of profit does not arise". He said that the court has just asked the EC to look at the matter again in light of natural justice.

"If small States are blackmailed, then the federal structure will be completely destroyed", he added.