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Somnath unlikely to chair OoP debate

The Lok Sabha Speaker has been charged with holding an office of profit.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 15:48 IST

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who faces a petition for disqualification on the ground that he holds an office of profit, on Tuesday indicated that he would not be presiding over the House proceedings when a legislation on the issue is brought by the Government.

"You are intelligent people. If any subject is discussed in which the Presiding Officer is interested, there are well-established conventions", he told reporters after an hour-long all-party meeting he had convened ahead of the second part of the Budget session beginning on Wednesday.

Chatterjee was responding to questions on media reports suggesting that he would not chair the session when the Government brings the much-awaited office-of-profit Bill giving relief to several MPs holding such offices.

The Speaker did not attend the last two days of first half of the Budget session in the wake of the controversy on the office-of-profit issue.

Briefing reporters, Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi said the Government would inform the Business Advisory Committee of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday about its intention to bring a legislation on the offices of profit after Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

The BAC, which would be meeting after the House condoles the death of two of its Members and adjourns, would decide the date on which the Bill would be introduced.

Sources said except for the BJP, all the parties favoured a legislation with retrospective effect.

BJP leader VK Malhotra said the constitutional provisions relating to the Office of Profit should not be diluted.