Prez will have to sign it now
THE UPA is likely to stick to the original form of the bill amending the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1959, which exempts 56 posts from being considered as offices of profit. The government will table the bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament, starting July 24.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had returned the bill – passed by Parliament in May – for the government's reconsideration. He had said the bill's focus should be on evolving a comprehensive criterion that is "just, fair and reasonable" and applied to all states and Union territories "in a clear and transparent manner".
But if the bill is passed by the Parliament this time too and sent to him, the president, in keeping with Article 111 of the Constitution, will have no option but to give it his assent.
The only hurdle, if it can be called one, for the government is the BJP, which has decided to oppose the draft legislation again. Earlier, the party had walked out when the bill had come up in the two Houses during the Budget session.
Though it is almost certain that the government will stick to the original form of the office-of-profit bill, a final view will be taken at Thursday's Cabinet meeting.
Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.R. Dasmushi, though, have already held consultations with different political parties, including UPA partners. With petitions pending against several Left and SP MPs as well, the Congress is confident of getting the backing of these parties when the bill is presented to the Rajya Sabha from where it had been sent to the president for his assent during the Budget session.