With the Delhi Bar Council asking senior advocate HS Phoolka to choose between his Cabinet status as leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and practice in the court, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader on Sunday said he would resign from his post in order to keep appearing as counsel for victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Phoolka, who won his first ever Assembly election from Dakha (Ludhiana) on a AAP ticket, said he would resign in next five to 10 days and has asked party chief Arvind Kejriwal to find his replacement within a week.
He has recommended three names from the party’s 20 legislators — Kanwar Sandhu, Sukhpal Khaira and Aman Arora.
AAP is main Opposition party in Punjab Assembly and Phoolka was elected as the leader of Opposition because of which he enjoys the rank and perks of a Cabinet minister including Rs Two lakh salary.
As this status of Cabinet minister is an office of profit, the Delhi Bar Council had disallowed Phoolka to appear for the victims in several cases against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and others.
Phoolka said he has decided to resign as leader of Opposition as he can’t leave presenting 1984 Sikh riot cases which are at a crucial stage in the court.
“Thousands of Sikhs were murdered in the national Capital in broad day light (in 1984) but no punishment has been given to those who were leading the mob including Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler. Therefore, I will keep fighting for victims,” he said.
The AAP leader lamented the fact the Delhi Bar Council took a rigid stand in the matter and didn’t leave him any choice but to resign as leader of Opposition.
“I have requested the Bar Council to let me appear (for riot victims) as I am willing to leave my Cabinet status. Nothing is dearer to me than getting justice for the riot victims,” he said.
Hinting at his resignation, Phoolka had on Thursday said in a tweet “Will not give up 84 carnage cases. Asking Bar Council if by giving up Minister status I can appear in these cases”.
Before this, Phoolka had resigned from AAP in September 2015 to give his due attention to the riots cases which he is representing for the past 30 years without charging any fee.