The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought to know the stand of the Centre, the Delhi Assembly Speaker and also AAP legislator Kailash Gahlot on a petition moved by the three BJP MLAs praying that Gahlot be removed from the post of transport minister and restrained from attending the ongoing Assembly session owing to his disqualification for holding ‘office of profit’.
Gahlot is AAP MLA from Najafgarh and is one of the 20 legislators who was disqualified in January for holding office of profit as parliamentary secretary.
BJP MLAs Vijender Gupta, OP Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan moved the petition challenging Gahlot’s presence in the House and him continuing as a minister despite the disqualification and in complete disregard of Article 191 of the Constitution of India and section 15(1)(a) of the GNCTD Act, 1991.
The BJP MLAs also prayed that penalty proceedings be initiated against Gahlot in terms of Section 17 of the GNCTD Act for being in the House despite the disqualification.
Justice Rekha Palli issued notices to the Centre, the Speaker of the Delhi Assembly and also to Gahlot while choosing not to restrain the AAP legislator from attending the Assembly session which started on March 16 and will conclude on March 28.
The matter is now listed on April 6.
Representing the three BJP MLAs, senior advocate Sanjay Jain and advocates Balendu Shekhar and Neeraj Kumar said, “The Respondent No. 3 (Gahlot) has started attending the Seventh Session of Legislative Assembly of Delhi in gross defiance of GNCTD Act, 1991”.
The petitioners said when they objected to Gahlot’s presence and asked the Speaker to take action on his unlawful presence in the House, the “Members from the ruling party created massive ruckus and tried to scuttle the voice of valid objection being raised by the Petitioners”.
They said the Speaker overruled their objection and the petitioners were “thrown out of the House with the help of Marshals for raising valid objections against the unlawful presence of the Respondent (Gahlot)”.
They said: “In order to safeguard the miscarriage of Constitutional Values, established Constitutional provisions and statutes, immediate action and intervention is required to restrain Gahlot’s presence in the House as well as removal from the Council of Ministers of GNCTD.”
The petition filed through Balendu Shekhar also said: “Gahlot, having ceased to be a member of the Legislative Assembly, could not have been appointed at all as a Minister in the Council of Ministers and in any event, after the order dated 20.01.2018 (of disqualification) was liable to be removed, without prejudice to the basic contention that his appointment in itself has been rendered void ab initio and non-est”.