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Tainted persons as ministers okay: Centre
December 08, 2004 15:23 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2004 18:48 IST
The Centre has stated before the Supreme Court that it is the prime minister's prerogative to decide which member of Parliament to include in his council of ministers and that the President has no choice but to accept the decision.
The home ministry said this in an affidavit responding to an SC notice on a review petition filed by one Manoj Narula challenging the inclusion of Mohammed Taslimuddin, M A A Fatmi and Jai Prakash Yadav on the ground that criminal cases are pending against them.
"Once a person is a member of Parliament, he is entitled to be in the council of ministers if the prime minister so decides," the affidavit said.
"It is respectfully submitted that the President would have no option but to appoint as prime minister the person who commands the support of the majority in the House. Equally, the prime minister has the discretion to select his council of ministers, and persons so selected are required to be appointed by the President as being part of the council of ministers," the ministry said.
The affidavit said, "There is, at present, a coalition government which has formed the UPA and there are various parties which are part of the present government.
"The MPs of such parties would be required to be considered for inclusion in the council of ministers, if the parties so desire and the ultimate decision is taken by the prime minister while selecting his council of ministers."
Taking note of the debate in Parliament on "tainted" ministers, the SC on July 16 had dismissed Narula's petition seeking a ban on inclusion of such persons in the council of ministers.
"The matter is being debated in Parliament. We will see if Parliament comes out with a legislation on this issue," the court had said.
However, on September 24, the SC issued notice to the Congress-led government on Narula's petition stating that Parliament did not debate on the issue.
The home ministry, in its affidavit, said the SC on July 16 "rightly did not entertain the petition because the matter essentially fell within the province of Parliament and was required to be looked into by Parliament.
"The only reason why the discussion on this issue did not take place in the concerned session was because the session was disrupted by members of the Opposition."
The affidavit added, "As and when the occasion arises, the matter will certainly be considered and debated in Parliament because ultimately in a system of parliamentary democracy it is for Parliament to consider these issues."
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