The 31-year-old lawyer behind disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs
AAP is in serious trouble: 20 of its MLAs are in the dock for holding "office of profit." This was a major win for 31-year-old Prashant Patel Umrao, the lawyer who filed the petition three years ago. For him, it wasn't about derailing the AAP government, but ensuring that the law isn't bent. Here's what inspired Umrao to take on the Delhi government.
What is the controversy regarding "office of profit"?
The controversy relates to 20 AAP MLAs being appointed as parliamentary secretaries to Delhi government's ministers. Ideally, MLAs hold the government accountable for their work. However, if they draw salary as parliamentary secretary within the government, they may be influenced. Thus, if they hold an "office of profit," they might not discharge their function of questioning government decisions seriously.
Umrao has specialized in computer science and law
Umrao, the one who waged a war against the MLAs, is from UP but has been living in Delhi and Noida since 2009. He studied in the RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Fatehpur, then graduated in computer sciences from Allahabad's Ewing Christian College and law from Chaudhary Charan Singh University. He has been practicing law since 2015.
A book inspired him to take on the Delhi government
Umrao was reading a book called 'Delhi Sarkaar Ki Shaktiyan Aur Seemayen' ('Powers and Limitations of Delhi Government') by former Assembly Secretary SK Sharma. "There is a chapter on parliamentary secretaries" which explains how their appointment breaks laws, he said. To correct things, he wrote to the president in June'15 questioning its legality, less than six months after the AAP had come to power.
Umrao has also taken on Aamir Khan, Leela Samson, others
Umrao is a member of the Hindu Sena and the now-disbanded Hindu Legal Cell. The office of profit petition is just one of his high-profile battles: he had earlier filed FIRs against Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani for hurting religious sentiments in 'PK.' When Kanhaiya Kumar sought bail, Umrao demanded the SC's intervention. He has also accused former CBFC chief Leela Samson of corruption.
Winner of the National Changemakers Award 2018
A week ago, Umrao, who has over 32,000 followers on Twitter, received the National Changemakers Award 2018 from the vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University. Now he might be the reason behind bypolls to 20 assembly constituencies in Delhi.