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Justice Navin Chawla of Delhi High Court today issued notices to the office of Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, Election Commission of India and the complainant- AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj on the petitions challenging the order of disqualification passed by the Speaker of Delhi Legislative Assembly against two Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Col. Devinder Kumar Sehrawat and Anil Kumar Bajpai.

The disqualified MLAs, through separate petitions have urged the High Court to stay their disqualification while the challenge is pending before it.

Devinder K Sehrawat’s petition reminds the court of SC judgments wherein it was said that ‘dissent is not defection,’ thus submitting: it cannot be fathomed that merely by criticizing the Party leadership, a member of the Aam Aadmi Party is said to have ‘voluntarily given up his membership’.

It states that the Speaker has misread and misinterpreted the evidences, statements/depositions of the newspaper reporters, editors, thereby passing a judgment that is flawed and erroneous in the eyes of law.

According to the petition, while he actively campaigned for AAP during the Lok Sabha elections of 2019, attending one press conference at the BJP office cannot be said to be evidence of him having voluntarily given up AAP’s membership. His subsequent absence in an AAP meeting was for medical reasons and was wrongly recorded as ‘without reason’ in the Speaker’s order disqualifying him.

Devinder Kumar Sehrawat has sought direction of the court to the Election Commission to not issue fresh notification for filling up the vacancy arising out of his disqualification, and also prayed to allow the continuance of ongoing projects sanctioned through his Local Area Development (MLALAD) Funds.

Court directed respondents to file counter affidavits within two weeks and rejoinder thereafter within two weeks and has posted both the matters for final hearing on 20th November.

–India Legal Bureau

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