The Delhi High Court order reinstating 20 AAP legislators, who were disqualified by the Election Commission for being found in contravention of the office-of-profit law, does not mark an unalloyed vindication of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. It only means that the EC would have to grant a personal hearing to each MLA facing disqualification before pronouncing its order. The MLAs in question had failed to respond to repeated requests from the EC to present their case, but when they were disqualified, they pleaded that they were denied a chance to defend themselves.
The 20 MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries at the time of a split in AAP, with Kejriwal fearing that without offering them substantial posts they might make common cause with Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, the founder members, who were summarily expelled by the party’s autocratic leader. A procedural lag ought to be corrected soon. The matter of disqualification of the AAP MLAs must be resolved by the EC without much delay. The current Assembly is already into the fourth year and the issue cannot be kept hanging for long.
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