In a major embarrassment for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party, the President of India has refused to give consent to “The Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill 2015” that empowers the government that Parliamentary Secretary to the chief minister and minister of the Delhi government should not be disqualified.
In other words, 21 Parliamentary Secretaries appointed by AAP government is set to be disqualified by the Election Commission of India. It is noted that Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had earlier indicated that 21 Parliamentary Secretaries are bound to be disqualified.
Sources said that President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to give consent to “The Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill 2015”, after consulting with law ministry as it had been introduced even seeking prior mandatory legal and constitutional sanction of the Union government.
Sources in Raj Niwas told News Agencies, “We have received communication from the President House regarding the bill and have sent it to Delhi law secretary further course of action.” Sources also said that the President has rejected the bill. In 2015, the AAP government had appointed the 21 parliamentary secretaries to the six council of ministers. But as per law, the government can appoint only one parliamentary secretary with the Chief Minister.
Fearing the disqualification of its 21 parliamentary secretaries as MLAs because of the illegality of holding two offices of profit at once, the AAP government on passed a bill to give exemption to these secretaries from disqualification with retrospect effect. However, the bill will be considered passed only when it gets the consent of the Lt-Governor and the President.
The AAP government then introduced an amendment bill in the Delhi Assembly to replace the words “chief minister” with “minister” with retrospective effect to save these legislators from facing disqualification for using office of profit in violation of the rules.
The Bill, passed by the Delhi Assembly last year, had proposed amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill 1997 to declare that the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the chief minister and minister of the government of National Capital Territory of Delhi should not be disqualified and should be deemed never to have been disqualified for being chosen as or for being a member of the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi”.
The new provision makes room for MLAs to remain parliamentary secretaries without risking disqualification. Among the parliamentary secretaries who have been appointed by CM are Praveen Kumar to education minister, Sharad Kumar to revenue minister, Adarsh Shastri to information and technology minister, Madan Lal to vigilance minister, Charan Goel to finance minister, Sanjeev Jha to transport minister, Sarita Singh to employment minister, Naresh Yadav to labour minister, Jarnail Singh to minister of development, Rajesh Gupta to health minister.
Apart from them, MLAs - Anil Kumar Bajpai has been parliamentary secretary to health minister followed by Som Dutt to industries minister, Avtar Singh Kalka to minister of Gurudwara elections, Vijender Garg Vijay to minister of PWD, Jarnail Singh to minister of power, Kailash Gahlot to minister of law, Alka Lamba to minister of tourism, Manoj Kumar to minister of food and civil Supplies, Nitin Tyagi to minister of women and child and social welfare and Sukhvir Singh to minister of languages and welfare of SC/ST/OBC.