DELHI HC Asks Election Commission to Hear Afresh the AAP MLAs After Setting Aside Presidential Notification Disqualifying Them

THE  Delhi High Court on Friday set aside the presidential notification disqualifying  20 MLAs belonging  to the Delhi’s ruling  Aam Aadmi Party led by beleaguered Arvind Kejriwal  and asking The Election Commission of India to give them a fresh hearing.“The opinion of the Election Commission of India (given to the President of India) dated January 19, 2018, is vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice,” said a Division Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, setting aside the EC recommendation disqualifying the MLAs.The HC had on January 24 refused to stay the Centre’s notification disqualifying them, but had restrained the election panel from announcing polls to fill the vacancies. It has quashed the disqualification notification for “violation of the principle of natural justice, namely failure (of EC) to give an oral hearing and opportunity to address arguments on merits of the issue”. The matter will now be heard by the EC afresh. The HC in its order has asked the Election Commission to “re-examine the factual matrix to decide whether the AAP MLAs had incurred disqualification on appointment as parliamentary secretaries, without being influenced by the earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order. The 20 MLAs were accused of holding “offices of profit” as parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi Government in March 2015. Media reports say Election Commission of India will give an opportunity to the MLAs to present their cases individually. Sources say EC had also given then such opportunity but they had not responded.(Image: courtesy: The Rediff.com)

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