The joint parliamentary committee on the office of profit is set to seek another extension as it is nowhere near completing its task.
The 15-member panel was constituted a year back to go into the issues raised by then president A P J Abdul Kalam while returning the Parliament (prevention of disqualification) Bill that sought to retrospectively exempt from disqualification over 50 posts. He had signed it after the government passed the Bill again and assured that a committee would go into the issues he had raised.
The 15-member panel, which was expected to submit its report during the Budget session, was given time till the end of the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
But the panel headed by Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi has reportedly not even begun to define "office of profit''. It had been tasked to suggest a comprehensive definition of the term, recommend just, fair and reasonable criteria applicable to all states and Union Territories and examine the feasibility of adopting a system of law relating to the prevention of disqualification of MPs.
So far, the panel has had five sittings. It has visited Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore to hold consultations. It has also sought the opinions of legal experts. The panel is slated to tour some other states to solicit opinion on the issues. Some members had also proposed visiting other countries to "study'' how they deal with the issue.
A year has passed since the panel was set up and much has happened. Kalam has handed the baton to Pratibha Patil. The Bill itself stands challenged in court. And the Election Commission looking into several petitions accusing senior leaders at the Centre of holding offices of profit.