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Disqualified AAP MLAs in Delhi HC deny receiving any benefits, perks

Virbhadra Singh

New Delhi: The disqualified Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs today denied the Delhi High Court of having received any remuneration, monetary benefits or perks, including official vehicles, in their capacity as parliamentary secretaries.

The MLAs, all 20 of whom have now entered a plea in the high court against their disqualification, submitted before a bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar that the Election Commission (EC) did not consider the aspect of what benefits they had derived while ruling that they held offices of profit.

Eight MLAs had entered a plea in the high court against their disqualification, while the remaining 12 MLAs approached the court yesterday.

The bench, however, said the decisive test of whether someone held an office of profit was “the power of appointment”.

“The other factors come in later. The emphasis is more on the power of appointment and if exercised would it create a conflict of interest,” the court said.

It also said that whether a post has the potential or capability to generate profit also needs to be considered.

The court observed that even if no benefit has been received or taken, if a post has the potential of yielding pecuniary gain, then it would be an office of profit.

To decide if the post has the potential to yield gain, the power of appointment has to be examined, it observed.

The observations of the bench and the submissions on behalf of the MLAs came during the nearly three-hour hearing of the legislators’ pleas challenging their disqualification for holding offices of profit.

Appearing for the MLAs, senior advocate Mohan Parasaran said that no pecuniary benefit was received by the lawmakers, while appointed as parliamentary secretaries, and the EC did not consider vital materials while arriving at its decision recommending their disqualification.

The high court, which had yesterday decided to hear the MLAs’ appeals on a day-to-day basis, listed the matter for further arguments on February 12.

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