The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the AAP government's decision to appoint 21 party legislators as parliamentary secretaries. Earlier, the government had defended its decision to appoint the party MLAs as parliamentary secretaries, saying the move does not amount to creation of a "public office".

Earlier, the Election Commission has sought details from the Delhi government on the facilities being provided to them and their nature of work.

It has also asked for information on the nature of the work as parliamentary secretary. The response of the Delhi government helped the Commission to formulate an opinion before the process of giving them personal hearing.

The 21 members of the Assembly had sought a personal hearing after a lawyer petitioned the Commission for their disqualification on the ground that MLAs are not allowed to hold an office of profit.

The MLAs have maintained that the post of parliamentary secretary in Delhi does not come with any remuneration or trappings of power.

In March last, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had appointed the 21 MLAs as parliamentary secretaries to assist ministers of the Delhi government. The AAP government then sought to get this legal sanction with retrospective effect by amending the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997.

The bill, passed by the Assembly in June last year, was forwarded to the Union government, but President Pranab Mukherjee declined to sign it. The Election Commission has taken note of the President's stand.

(With agency inputs)

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