Anubhuti Vishnoi, ET Bureau|Sep 16, 2019, 07.47 AM IST0Comments
BCCLThe draft bill also seeks to define terms like ‘salary’, ‘remuneration’ and ‘compensatory allowance’ to minimise the scope for ambiguity.NEW DELHI: The Centre is considering a constitutional amendment to define the term ‘office of profit’ and the exempted categories.
The draft amendment proposes to exempt advisors appointed by the Centre or states and those appointed to discharge legislative functions such as leader of opposition, chief whips, etc from disqualification related to the ‘office of profit’.
Inter-ministerial consultations have started to amend Articles 102 and 191 of the Constitution.
The proposed amendment seeks to define ‘office of profit’ as — any office under the control of the Union government or the state government whether or not salary or remuneration for such office is paid out by them from the public revenue; anybody/organisation which may be wholly or partially owned by the central government or state government and pays the salary or remuneration for the holder of such an office is also included in the proposed definition; any office in which its occupant/holder is capable of exercising executive powers delegated by the government, including disbursement of funds, land allotment, issuing of licence or permit, making public appointments or granting favours of a ‘substantial nature’ which may be legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial.
The draft bill proposes to bring in clear definitions with amendments to sub-clause 1(a) of Article 102 which deals with disqualification.
While the current clauses say that a Union minister or a state minister shall not be deemed an office of profit, the amendment proposes to include those holding an advisory office for the Union or state, or an office-holder in Parliament or state legislature.
An office in Parliament or state legislature means the offices which are directly connected with discharge of legislative functions — such as the office of the leader of opposition, deputy leader of a party, chief whips, deputy chief whips and so on.
The draft bill also seeks to define terms like ‘salary’, ‘remuneration’ and ‘compensatory allowance’ to minimise the scope for ambiguity.
If the holder of an office is entitled to draw a salary/remuneration, it will be seen as an office of profit ‘irrespective of whether he actually receives it’. The amendment proposes to define ‘salary’ as salary or scale of pay attached to the office whether or not such a salary is drawn. ‘Remuneration’ will imply ‘any pecuniary gain commensurate with the status and responsibilities attached to the office but shall not include the expenditure incurred on the staff and infrastructure for running office’.
Corresponding amendments have been proposed to Article 191 of the Constitution as well. The law ministry is also of the view that the ‘offices of profit’ now governed by the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, or by the corresponding state enactments should not be disturbed and necessary provisions in Articles 102 and 191 have therefore been incorporated.