Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) response on Rogi Kalyan Samiti matter :
Attention of the party has been drawn towards the order issued by the hon’ble President of India rejecting a fake and frivolous complaint against 27 Delhi MLAs that they held an office of profit by being members of Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS).
At the outset, the party states it had consistently maintained that such fake and false complaints by vested interests were filed to distract the MLAs and to create hurdles in their public welfare functioning.
AAP MLAs faced two such complaints regarding holding the Offices of Profit, first was against 21 MLAs who were parliamentary secretaries from 13 March 2015 till 6th September 2016.
Second was regarding the present issue of RKS.
The issue of former Parliamentary Secretaries, on which the Election Commission’s opinion was quashed by the hon’ble Delhi High Court, is currently being heard in the hon’ble High Court on a different application by the MLAs.
Therefore, the party’s present statement is about the RKS issue.
The party is of the firm view that such a fake complaint should have been consigned to the dustbin by the Rashtrapati Bhawan itself during the tenure of the Previous President and should not have been forwarded to the Election Commission in the first place.
Unfortunately, this however, did not happen and a bogus complaint was allowed to be publicised to create a doubt in the minds of the people and this tamasha was allowed to linger on for two years.
The AAP is placing the following facts to set the record straight :
On 2nd November 2016, some Delhi MLAs received a communication from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi forwarding a notice from the Election Commission of India stating :
“Whereas, a question has been raised before the President of India in terms of Section 15 (3) of the Govt. of NCT of Delhi Act, 1991, in the petition dated 21.6.2016, filed by the petitioner alleging that you have become subject to the disqualification mentioned therein”
· What was surprising was that a mere “complaint/representation” by a petitioner was generously accorded the legally elevated status of a petition, without even a preliminary inquiry first by the Rashtrapati Bhawan and then later the Election Commission of India.
· The Question which naturally arises is was there any application of mind during the tenure of the previous hon’ble President of India during whose tenure the frivolous complaint was forwarded to the EC or was it merely mechanically forwarded to the EC, raising a reasonable suspicion that whether a motivated complaint was procured and forwarded to the EC with the sole intention of troubling the MLAs ?
· Further suspicious activity took place at the Election Commission after it received this frivolous complaint from the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
· The EC accorded the complainant in this matter an opportunity to pad-up his representation so that it could be elevated to the status of a petition.
· What was the compulsion under which ECI resorted to such illegality repeatedly?
· Was the Election Commission under any obligation or pressure to proceed against certain MLAs irrespective of all the legal infirmities in the so-called petitions?
· As a quasi-judicial body, was it not duty bound to examine the legal validity of letters/complaints/representations as referred to it and decide on the merits accordingly, rather than begging and pleading with the publicity-hungry sponsored authors of frivolous representations to revise them with the hope that they can be treated as valid petitions?
· Was it under directions to harass the hapless Elected Representatives? If yes, was it under directions to perpetuate such harassment across the Country irrespective of party affiliations?
The AAP with full responsibility states that this harassment is confined to Members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the party affiliation of the victims is too very well known.
The affidavit that the ECI had graciously procured from the complainant claimed that “… the Deponent have filed a petition seeking disqualification of 27 MLAs of Delhi Legislative Assembly, for being member of Legislative Assembly Disqualification of 27 AAM AADMI PARTY MLA’s for holding the ‘Office of Profit’ under the post of Chairpersons of the RogiKalyanSamities (RKSs) of different Govt. Hospitals in Delhi without any sanctity of law.”
The complainant also claimed that MLAs should not have been appointed as Chairpersons as it amounts to conferring them with some executive powers thereby weakening the ability of Legislature to hold the executive accountable. In the same affidavit, citing some guidelines purportedly issued by the Government of India, he went on to argue that it is, among others, local MP who is entitled to become Chairperson of RKS and not the MLA.
It was clear that he had no problems with Parliament’s powers vis-à-vis executive being compromised. Even after he was generously permitted by the ECI to augment his frivolous representation, all that the complainant could produce was a bunch of papers in the name of affidavit which was full of contradictions and falsehood.
One would have expected the charges to be verified by the ECI before issuing the notice, against The Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly of Delhi (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997. It is clear from the said Act that the positions of Chairperson and Member of RKSs are secured from disqualification as early as in 2006, that too with retrospective effect.
Most unfortunately, the ECI not only decided to entertain such a trash as a petition but also has decided to initiate the proceedings on the basis of rubbish which in normal circumstances would have been consigned to the dustbin.
In his original representation as was referred to the ECI by Hon’ble President and also in the affidavit obtained from him subsequently by the ECI (it could not be ascertained if it was done with or without the knowledge of the Hon’ble the then President) the complainant listed the names of 27 MLAs belonging to Aam Admi Party (AAP) who according to him were holding the ‘office of profit’ by way of occupying the office of Chairperson of RKS.
What was further surprising that among the MLAs who were issued notices by the EC, at serial number 10 the name of hon’ble Speaker of Delhi Vidhan Sabha Mr Ram Niwas Goel figured.
The lack of preliminary home work was proved since the hon’ble Speaker was never either a member or chairperson of the RKS. Yet, he was served with the notice and the same was maliciously publicised giving the impression that he was wrongfully holding an office to which he was not entitled.
The expression ‘Office of Profit’ which was hardly understood even by majority of media persons left the impression among common people that somebody is making undue profits by occupying a particular office. When you use its Hindi equivalent “laabhka pad” it hits the elected representative harder.
The AAP is compelled to ask a few questions to the ECI?
· Are you truly independent? Your actions suggest you are not. Unfortunately.
· Who pressurised you to pursue us with these malicious notices when no case existed at all?
· What is the reason for this selective malaise?
· First, you served the notice. Then you gathered thousands of pages worth information from various sources. When asked to share the hard copies of the same for individual defence, you refused.
· Principles of natural justice appear so alien in the proceedings before ECI. Think you can really justify illegalities perpetuated by you as a quasi-judicial body in the Courts of Law?
· Do you seriously believe in the assurances of those pressuring you to walk the illegal path that they are capable of coming to your rescue when the matters reach higher judiciary?
It is a sad commentary on our democracy that the democratic institutions and constitutional offices which were once highly respected by all and feared by miscreants are allowing themselves to be used by anti-democratic, narrow minded, sectarian elements for their short term gains which are at variance with larger national interest. We hope the holders of high offices realise the grave danger such tendencies pose to our country, our democracy and our future.