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Disqualification of Jaya sets pitch for others

NOTWITHSTANDING THE political overtones attached to the move, the disqualification of the SP MP Jaya Bachchan is bound to have far-reaching consequences as it may pave the way for disqualification of many other legislators for holding what is being termed offices of profit in Uttar Pradesh.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 01:17 IST

NOTWITHSTANDING THE political overtones attached to the move, the disqualification of the SP MP Jaya Bachchan is bound to have far-reaching consequences as it may pave the way for disqualification of many other legislators for holding what is being termed offices of profit in Uttar Pradesh.

The Uttar Pradesh State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill 2006 exempting legislators holding 79 offices w. e. f. January 1, 2003, is pending with Raj Bhawan for Governor TV Rajeswar’s approval.

As a consequence, legislators holding the ‘unexempted’ offices would face disqualification if a petition seeking their disqualification is filed before Election Commission. This would be in addition to MPs, who may also be disqualified if their offices have not been exempted from disqualification under provisions of the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1959.

Taking a cue from the action against the Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan (whom the President disqualified today) the State Government had moved an amendment to The Uttar Pradesh State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1971 to bring 79 offices under purview of the Act to exempt the legislators from disqualification for holding what are being called office of profit. A list of only 18 Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) had been given in the 1971 Act that was now being amended in Uttar Pradesh.

Besides various other offices, the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council (held by Jaya Bachchan), the Uttar Pradesh Development Council (held by Amar Singh) and the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam have been included in the list of offices that would not invoke any disqualification. Besides the issue of Jaya Bachchan, the petitions seeking disqualification of Amar Singh and Azam Khan were already pending with the Election Commission.

Khan may now get a breather if Governor approved the petition seeking his disqualification for holding post of Chairman UP Jal Nigam as the Uttar Pradesh State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill 2006.

Significantly, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday night decided to give ministerial berths and red beacon by appointing 17 more functionaries as chairmen, vice- chairmen, administrator and advisors in various departments and PSUs of the State Government. The move has been initiated in a bid to win some legislators for the Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishad elections. Yet, many more legislators may come under the purview of disqualification since many of the posts offered to the legislators have not been incorporated even in the Bill that proposes amendment to the Uttar Pradesh State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1971.

Other posts that have not been incorporated in the Bill include the advisors to State Planning Commission, advisors to Energy department and advisor to agriculture department. Whether such posts would come under the definition of office of profit or not is the question being asked in the corridors of power here.

First Published: Mar 18, 2006 01:17 IST