The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday fixed July 23 for hearing the final arguments in the matter of disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs.
In a 70-page order, the poll body has, however, dismissed the application for the cross-examination of the petitioner moved by the AAP MLAs.
“There is no occasion and need for cross-examination of the petitioner as he is not a witness in the present proceedings and the respondents have failed to make out a case for calling any witness,” the order read.
The Commission has further stated that the factual matrix which the poll body and High Court has taken cognisance of is drawn on the basis of information which it received from the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNTCD).
“Moreover, in order to follow, Principles of Natural Justice in letter and spirit, multiple opportunities were accorded to the respondents to offer their comments on these documents. After receipt of these documents the respondents did not deny or challenge any single page from the 2500 pages of documents received from GNCTD,” the order said.
The ECI’s order also said that the prayer by AAP MLAs to call GNCTD Officers for proving government records and documents which GNCTD has submitted to the Commission, is “nothing but tactics employed to drag and delay this matter”.
The order also mentions the observation of the Delhi High Court, stating that the proceedings before the commission would continue from the stage the error and lapse occurred.
In January this year, the EC had recommended the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs – Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gahlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh.
The move resulted in a reduction of the AAP’s strength in the 70-member Delhi Assembly from 66 to 46.
The AAP MLAs, who were appointed parliamentary secretaries, had subsequently challenged their disqualification on grounds of holding office-of-profit.