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The Delhi High Court bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar on Tuesday (February 13), listening to Alka Lamba’s petition for the 20 AAP MLAs disqualified for holding office of profit, were told by senior advocate K V Vishwanathan, of the appellants  to have look at the case compilation which was filed by him on the last day.

He referred to the case of UV Rammana. He submitted that “Profit” should not only be confined to pecuniary benefit but also to other benefits like power etc. Next he referred to the Divya Prakash case. All these cases, he said refer to “Office of Profit” .

He also referred to the latest judgment of the Jaya Bachhan case on this issue. He said that compensatory allowance is not included and covered under office of profit. Even if compensatory allowance is paid in money, it will not be pecuniary benefit.

The stress here is on pecuniary gain.

He said: “There is official transport given for official purpose, then where is the pecuniary profit arising from there? There is no an iota of pay, remuneration etc. given for it.

The counsel further submitted that he completely deny that the appellants have received anything extra or pecuniary benefit. He also said that the Election Commission did not give the appellants the opportunity of a hearing after sending the notice.

He submitted to the finding of the committee that committee conducts meeting and give advisory roles etc. Here office space is not the test.

When the bench asked the counsel to show that these MLAs have never been given official vehicle for official purpose, office space etc. the lawyer said that as per GNCTD response these requisitions were required which are kept in abeyance:

  1. Office space cabins to facilitate their work
    2. Officers table, chair, landline etc.
    3. Officers transport etc

He referred to the case of Guru Gobind which says that office of profit is not defined in the current constitution but there are tests to determine the same.

He said to disqualify someone on ground of office of profit one must interpret the provision in a realistic manner.

The 20 AAP MLAs were disqualified as MLAs following the Election Commission recommendation in the ‘office of profit’ case. They seek to quash the notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The matter is listed for Thursday.

-India Legal Bureau

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