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Bill on offices of profit tomorrow
K G Suresh in New Delhi | May 14, 2006 21:51 IST
The central government proposes to exempt 46 posts across the political spectrum from the purview of office of profit, which threatened the Parliament memberships of several key leaders.
The posts that will be exempted include the National Advisory Council chair and the Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority held by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chaterjee.
Apart from the NAC chair, an issue over which Congress president Sonia Gandhi resigned and got re-elected from Rae Bareli, and Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority, the offices sought to be excluded include UP Development Council headed by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and the now-defunct All India Council of Sports earlier headed BJP leader V K Malhotra with retrospective effect.
The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill 2006 for further amending 1959 Act, which is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday for passage during the current session which concludes on May 23, was on Sunday circulated among MPs by Law Minister H R Bharadwaj.
The government has said it would hold discussions with all political parties to evolve a consensus on the issue.
The inclusion of the post held by Opposition leaders is an indication that the government was keen on a consensus on the contentious issue.
About 40 MPs, many of them from Left parties extending crucial support to the UPA government, and 200 MLAs are facing disqualification petitions in the wake of the disqualification of Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan on the office of profit issue.
The Election Commission had last week dismissed a petition against Malhotra on the grounds that it was a pre-election disqualification and hence did not come under its purview.
The Bill provides a specific clause for excluding the office of the chairperson of NAC constituted by the Cabinet Secretariat on May 31, 2004.
It lists 45 other posts in a separate clause. The posts include the post of the chairperson of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations and chairperson of the Delhi Rural Development Board.
Kapila Vatsyayan, Karan Singh and Sajjan Kumar, who headed these bodies have already tendered their resignations from the posts.
The Bill also seeks to exempt chairmen, deputy chairmen, secretaries or members in any statutory or non-statutory body or trustees of any trust, whether public or private, chairman, president, vice president or principal secretary of the governing body of any society registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 or under any other law relating to registration of societies.
The Opposition has been opposed to dilution of the spirit of Article 102, 103 of the Constitution pertaining to the office-of-profit.
It has also been opposed to any bill with retrospective effect. The party has also demanded abolition of the NAC.