THE STATE Government is mulling over introducing a bill in the monsoon session of the Assembly beginning July 17 to bail out nine ministers and three ruling party MLAs facing the Election Commission’s notices on the office of profit (OoP) issue.
Should this happen, the BJP would be violating its own commitment that there should be uniform law across the country on the office of profit issue. On this very premise, President APJ Kalam had returned the Union Cabinet’s bill on the OoP issue and the BJP hailed the move.
Likewise, Jharkhand Governor Sibte Razi had recently returned a similar bill forwarded by the State’s BJP Government. That is why, the State Government is worried about proposed bill’s fate though it has started discussions on its tabling.
Anxiety of the BJP leadership is understandable because legal experts are learnt to have intimated the State Government that the ministers facing EC notices might attract disqualification and even the MP Vidhan Mandal Sadasya Nirharta Nivaran Adhiniyam 1967 may not be able to save them.
The Shivraj Government is understood to have made up its mind that recourse to bill appears to be the only way out to save the ministers and the MLAs from disqualification. They had to submit replies to the EC notices on June 28 but were given a month’s extension.
According to sources, opinions of leading lawyers, including State’s Advocate General Ravi Nandan Singh and Principal Secretary, Law, PP Tiwari are said to be in favour of a new and more comprehensive legislation in this regard.
Law department had opined that heads of State-owned corporations and boards fall under the ambit of office of profit as these are not statutory bodies. Only the Mandi Board headed by Agriculture Minister Choudhary Chandrabhan Singh is an exception.
The Election Commission issued notices under Section 146 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to nine ministers, including Babulal Gaur, Gopal Bhargava, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Jagdish Deora, Ramakant Tiwari, Rustam Singh, Chandrabhan Singh Chouhan, Vijay Shah and Tukojirao Panwar. Three BJP MLAs, including Laxman Singh Gaur, Lal Singh Arya and Shivraj
Shah were served similar notices.
These notices were served on the basis of a petition filed by Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi.
1 Nine ministers and three BJP MLAs issued EC notices. They had to submit replies on June 28 but were given a month’s extension.
2 Shivraj Govt is understood to have made up its mind that recourse to bill appears to be the only way out to save the ministers and the MLAs from disqualification.