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Capt gives cover to Cong MLAs, office of profit law amended

June 28, 2018 05:53 AM


Capt gives cover to Cong MLAs, office of profit law amended


The Punjab Cabinet, led by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, approved amendment to the Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1952 on Wednesday to ensure that the ruling party MLAs do not have to face disqualification for holding ‘offices of profit.’ The decision is being seen as a measure to please discontented Congress MLAs by way of appointing them as chairpersons of state boards and corporations. Through the proposed amendment to the Act, the Punjab Cabinet has in effect given its approval to the Congress MLAs holding new categories of ‘offices of profit’.

Act to save MLAs from getting disqualified

As per the proposed amendment to the Section 2 of the Act, a person shall not be disqualified for being a member of the Punjab state legislature for holding any of the offices of profit under the central or the state government, including, “the office of chairman, director or member (by whatever name called) of any statutory or nonstatutory body other than any such body as is referred to in clause.” The amendment will ensure that those categories already existing in the Act will not lead to disqualification.

The issue of the ‘office of profit’ had come to limelight in January when the Election Commission of India (ECI) had sent its recommendations to the President Ram Nath Kovind for disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs in Delhi for holding the posts of parliamentary secretaries as it is considered ‘office of profit.’ Punjab’s amendment to the Act will also save the MLAs from disqualification if they hold the office of chairman, vice-chairman, deputy chairman of state planning board and any office held by a minister (including the chief minister), minister of state or deputy minister, whether ex officio or by name.

The other ‘offices of profit’ included by the proposed amendment to the Act include the office of chief whip, deputy chief whip or whip in the Vidhan Sabha; the office of each leader and each deputy leader of a recognized political party and a recognized group in the Vidhan Sabha; the office of chairman or member of the syndicate, senate, executive committee, council or court of a university or any other body connected with a university. Also, the proposed amendment says if the holder of the office is not entitled to any remuneration other than compensatory allowance, he/she cannot be disqualified as an MLA.

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