Govt confronts Prez with arrogance on OoP: BJP
BJP on Thursday described the re-introduction of OoP Bill in RS as the 'arrogance' of Parliamentary majority.india Updated: Jul 27, 2006 18:10 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday described the re-introduction of the Office of Profit Bill in the Rajya Sabha as the 'arrogance' of Parliamentary majority, which considers the President as the 'rival centre of power' and seeks to protect the violators of the Constitution.
In his 50-minute spirited speech, former Law Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the President gave a sage advice by asking the government to reconsider the 'Constitutional misadventure'.
He advised the government to correct its mistakes and avail of the 'historic opportunity' given by the President. But then he said, he was not sure whether the UPA Government, enjoying the 'fragile support' from the Left would heed the sane advice because it has to protect certain individuals, many of whom were from the Left parties, against disqualifications.
What is more agonising for the BJP and other Opposition parties was that the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006 was being rushed through so that some members of the Left parties are saved from giving replies to the Election Commission on July 31, the noted lawyer and BJP leader said in his long speech, which did not attract any interruption from the treasury benches.
Reminding the Congress and its allies that there is a disconnection between what the government is doing and what the public opinion is, Jaitley said "Do not forget that you may have a majority today in this House. But political majorities are never immortal. The people who witnessed you becoming a majority can again have the opportunity of witnessing you getting into minority."
He said Parliament is merely a creation of the Constitution. It cannot violate the Constitution. Unlike the British democracy where Parliamentary sovereignty is unlimited, the sovereignty of the Indian Parliament is limited. It can legislate on subjects for which it has legislative competence.
"The Indian Parliament does not have the sovereignty by legislation to violate the Constitution," he said.
It is the duty of the President to uphold the Constitution. He can go to any extent to uphold it. That is the solemn oath he has taken. This job is independent of the executive advice and aid he receives from the Cabinet, Jaitley said.
The President wants the Parliament to reconsider the Bill because he thinks there should be a common criteria all over the country with regard to the exemptions. Secondly, he does question the retrospective exemptions and thirdly what is sought to be exempted is the holder of the office rather than the office itself.
While he knows that because of sheer numbers the Bill would be passed, he thinks it would be a new low in Indian Parliamentary democracy. Besides, even if it gets passed, it may not stand the judicial scrutiny, Jaitley said.
Responding to the argument of the government as also the Left leaders that the Office of Profit has not been defined, Jaitley asked what stops them from defining it in the Bill.