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MLAs nomination to municipal corporations is Speaker's discretion: HC told

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has contended in the Delhi High Court that he has the discretion to appoint MLAs to the municipal corporations and it was not mandatory to rotate or replace them each year.
The submission, before a bench of Justices G S Sistani and Jyoti Singh, was made in response to a plea by BJP leader Vijender Gupta challenging the appointment of same 13 AAP MLAs as councillors to the corporations each year.
The court Friday listed the matter for further hearing on November 22.
Gupta, in his plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey, has alleged that since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) formed the government in February 2015, the same group of party legislators have been repeatedly nominated as councillors in municipal corporations in violation of laid down norms.
The only difference being the replacement of rebel AAP MLA Anil Kumar Bajpai with S K Bagga in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), the petition has said.
In response to Gupta's plea, the Speaker's reply states that nominating or appointing Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the municipal corporations was a discretionary power and it was not mandatory to rotate or replace them each year.
The affidavit said that such a claim for rotation or replacement of the MLAs was "not a correct interpretation" of the law.
"It is submitted that the action of respondent 2 (Speaker) in appointing the same members in consecutive years is neither arbitrary nor irrational, illogical or draconian. Hence present petition is not maintainable...and is absolutely ,frivolous" it said.
It further said that Gupta, through the petition, was trying to interfere with the discretion of the Speaker and urged the court to dismiss the plea.
The affidavit also said that the MLAs were not rotated as the Speaker "was satisfied with the actions performed by the members in respective municipal areas".
Gupta, a BJP MLA from Rohini and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, has contended in his plea that as per the provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the Speaker is under obligation to nominate the persons on rotation wise.
"...meaning the MLAs who were nominated in previous years shall not be repeated again and again," Gupta said, seeking setting aside of the July 12 notification issued by the Delhi Assembly nominating the same 13 AAP MLAs to the municipal corporations of North, South and East Delhi, claiming it violates the provisions of the MCD Act.
According to the petition, the MLAs who have been nominated each year without change include Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, Jitender Singh Tomar, Rajesh Gupta, Sanjeev Jha, Sharad Kumar and Amanatullah Khan.
The remaining MLAs who have been nominated as councillors to the three MCDs without change are -- Bhavna Gaur, Jarnail Singh, Naresh Balyan, Prakash, Mind Ishraq Khan and Sarita Singh.
"During the tenure of present Legislative Assembly, not one MLA from the Opposition has been nominated by the Speaker. Not only this, the Speaker has nominated the same members of Legislative Assembly as members of three Municipal Corporations," the petition has said.
"This act of the Speaker is biased, ultravires, arbitrary and contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India," the petition alleged.
It said that despite several representations to withdraw the notification, no action has been taken.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 5:10 PM IST

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