Some of the 21 AAP MLAs have filed replies before the Election Commission saying they need more time to study the documents as the pen drives provided by the poll panel were faulty. The MLAs, who are facing prospects of disqualification for allegedly holding Office of Profit, have also asked for time claiming that lawyers were unavailable due to which they could not file their response. Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, who has sought more time from the Commission to file her reply, said that some MLAs received pen drive from the EC that turned out to be "corrupt". "Plus, our lawyers were unavailable last week due to which we could not file the reply. So, we have sought more time," Lamba, said. "Most of us have hired lawyers who practise in Supreme Court or High Court. Last week was a holiday for both the courts and lawyers were out.
Now that they are back, we will soon be filing our reply," said Kasturba Nagar MLA Madanlal, who has sought a week's time to file his reply. He added that the EC had also given a soft copy of nearly 2500 pages and there was no segregation of charges against any individual legislator, due to which the entire process has become tedious. The petition to disqualify AAP MLAs was filed by advocate Prashant Patel, who has termed the legislators' move a "ploy" to delay the proceedings. On October 10, the EC rejected a plea of 21 AAP MLAs, facing prospects of disqualification for allegedly holding Office of Profit, to get hard copies of response filed by the Delhi government on the issue, saying it is "not under any obligation" to do so. The poll panel also made it clear that the legislators will have to respond by October 17 (today) on a plea seeking their disqualification failing which the Commission will "presume" that they have "nothing to say in the matter" and decide accordingly. The Delhi government had earlier submitted documents before the Commission in this case. On September 8, the Delhi High Court had set aside the appointment of 21 party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The court had said the order to appoint them as parliamentary secretaries was given without the concurrence of the Lt Governor. In the hearing on September 23, the MLAs had sought time to study the high court judgement that set aside their appointment. On October 7, the AAP MLAs were to file a response, but again had asked for an extension. The Commission has also asked Patel to submit his rejoinder to the AAP MLAs response by October 21.
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