New Delhi: In a major setback for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the appointment of 21 parliamentary secretaries that the Arvind Kejriwal government had appointed from amongst the party’s 67 MLAs in the national capital.
A petition in the court had challenged the appointment of the legislators, alleging that it was an instance of dual offices of profit held by the AAP leaders. The plea had asked for their disqualification.
The court said since the approval of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung was not taken, the appointment of the 21 MLAs in the light of the recent judgement on LG’s powers is illegal.
Last month, following a long tussle between Jung and the AAP, the court had ruled that the LG remains the administrative head in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The parliamentary secretaries were appointed by the Kejriwal government on March 13, 2015. The Election Commission is also hearing depositions on the question of the disqualification of the 21 AAP MLAs who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries, on the grounds that they were availing of allowances and perks in addition to what they were entitled to as MLAs.
On Wednesday, the Delhi government had denied giving any additional salary, perks, or privileges to the 21 parliamentary secretaries other than what they were entitled to by virtue of being MLAs.
The government’s assertion came in response to a query from the Election Commission (EC) asking it to furnish details of all the perks, allowances and other facilities enjoyed by the parliamentary secretaries.