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Jaya's exit to open Pandora?s box

The Jaya Bachchan issue is likely to open a Pandora's Box at least in Uttar Pradesh. Here's why.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 05:06 IST

The Jaya Bachchan issue is likely to open a Pandora's Box at least in Uttar Pradesh. Here's why: Besides Jaya Bachchan, the Election Commission is also considering the case of Minister for Urban Development Mohammad Azam Khan, who is also the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam.

There's hardly any state MP or legislator who does not hold similar posts. SP general secretary and MP Amar Singh is the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Development Council.

The Congress had objected to Bachchan being the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council, when she filed her nomination for the Rajya Sabha seat in 2004. Bachchan said she had resigned from the post. She was re-appointed after her election to the Rajya Sabha. This time, Congress candidate Madan Mohan, whose nomination papers had been rejected, challenged her nomination.

The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1959, while prescribing exemptions, defines an office of profit as any government office or post that brings pecuniary, administrative, executive or other powers to its occupant.

G.C. Malhotra, former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha says that "even if a person does not draw a salary while occupying such a post, he/she will still be considered to be holding an office of profit because of the administrative and financial powers that flow with the position. Not drawing a salary is no exemption.''

Subhash Kashyap, another former LS secretary-general, points out that an office of profit is linked to a government office and not a private company.

The UP State Legislature Prevention of Disqualification Act, 1971 lists offices that would not invite disqualification if legislators hold these posts.

Observers say many more UP legislators may invite disqualification if a petition was filed seeking their disqualification.