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Office of profit issue: 21 AAP MLAs fate hang in balance, next hearing on November 22

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday fixed November 22 as the next date of hearing of the final arguments on a petition seeking disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit.

After hearing the 21 AAP legislators, who were appointed as parliamentary secretaries–alleged to be an office of profit–and the petitioner for over three hours yesterday, the Commission had asked both the sides to file their arguments in writing. Now it has fixed November 22 as the next date of hearing. On September 8, the Delhi High Court had set aside the appointment of 21 party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The court had said the order to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries was given without the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor. The AAP MLAs said in the hearing yesterday that since the decision to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries has been set aside, they could not be disqualified for holding the office which they no longer enjoy.

But the petitioner, Prashant Patel, insisted that the court order should have no bearing on the case being heard by the EC as they were enjoying the fruits of that office till their appointment was set aside by the high court.

He argued that disqualification was necessary as the office of parliamentary secretary comes under the ambit of office of profit law.