NEW DELHI: Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday described President Ram Nath Kovind's order disqualifying 20 of its MLAs for holding offices of profit as "unconstitutional" and "dangerous for democracy".
The president on Sunday accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to disqualify the 20 AAP MLAs.
A notification issued by the law ministry quoted the president as saying that in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission (EC), the 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly have been disqualified.
"...Having considered the matter in the light of the opinion expressed by the Election Commission, I, Ram Nath Kovind, president of India, in exercise of the powers...do here hold that the aforesaid 20 members of the Delhi legislative assembly stand disqualified from being members of the said assembly," the notification said.
The MLAs who face axe are Alka Lamba, Adarsh Shastri, Sanjeev Jha, Rajesh Gupta, Kailash Gehlot, Vijendra Garg, Praveen Kumar, Sharad Kumar, Madan Lal Khufiya, Shiv Charan Goyal, Sarita Singh, Naresh Yadav, Rajesh Rishi, Anil Kumar, Som Dutt, Avtar Singh, Sukhvir Singh Dala, Manoj Kumar, Nitin Tyagi and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).
Madanlal, one of the 20 disqualified MLAs, said that all hopes hinge upon the judiciary and the party is expecting some relief on Monday.
Reacting to the development, senior AAP leader Ashutosh said, "President's order to disqualify AAP MLAs is unconstitutional and dangerous for democracy."
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the ‘speed’ at which President delivered 120 pages order raises suspicion about many institutions.
"Constitutional authorities today are behaving like handmaidens of the Central government. They are expected to behave in a constitutional manner and not as political stooges of their masters who appoint them," Bhardwaj alleged.
Alka Lamba, who is among the 20 AAP MLAs disqualified, said the decision was "painful" and the president should have heard them out before arriving at any conclusion.
"It is unfortunate that the President took the decision in such haste, without giving us chance to speak. It is an act of Centre using constitutional institutions. We have trust on the judiciary as the doors of the High Court and Supreme Court are open to us," Lamba told ANI
The AAP MLAs had also sought time from the president.
The AAP MLAs were appointed parliamentary secretaries and their appointment was described as them holding offices of profit by a petitioner.
The AAP has also approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on EC's recommendation. The court has listed the case for a hearing on Monday.
"We are expecting relief from the court. Our petition is coming up for hearing tomorrow," Madanlal, who represented the Kasturba Nagar constituency, said.--ABP