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Marginal profit

The president wants to know more. Otherwise, what a save the Office of Profit Bill was for the more than 40 harried representatives of the people caught in the vortex of the controversy.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 01:03 IST

The president wants to know more. Otherwise, what a save the Office of Profit Bill was for the more than 40 harried representatives of the people caught in the vortex of the controversy. Death by Disqualification is no way to have to go from the hallowed precinct of Parliament. Not if a multitude of democracy worshippers have installed them there to protect their interest. The daredevil rescue operation mounted by their mates in the Lok Sabha as well as the House of Elders to pull them back to dry ground is pathbreaking in its entirety.

The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification Amendment) Bill, 2006 has (like none other in the recent past) focused singularly on saving the MPs at risk of losing their seat in the august Houses for allegedly doing something the Constitution of India does not permit. So the legislators collectively decided to simply change it to make permissible what till now is not. To put it in black and white, a gang-up cutting across party lines ensured that the MPs were exempted from near-possible disqualification by exempting, from the forbidden list of Office of Profit, specific positions given to them by the executive.

Only three of the Members went on record to oppose the Bill. No crime done, going by the existing legal framework. But if this statistic were to be seen through the ethical prism, the colours look rather dark. Using the moral scale to judge the ‘save MPs’ manoeuvre, it falls nothing short of a blow to the lofty ideals of legislating for the benefit of the public, the concept of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

Many, who had a hand in ensuring the safe passage of the Bill, did have trouble with their conscience. But obviously self-interest won over a nagging conscience. In fact the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr Hansraj Bhardwaj outlined the objectives and reasons of bringing forth such a Bill in a manner most admirably candid. The Bill “…has been necessitated .... 40 or more Members from both House of Parliament are facing disqualification ...it is proposed to include certain offices in the ... Act of 1959 so as to exempt the holders of such offices...”

The minister revealed that various MPs had approached him for exemption. He also disclosed that he had contacted party leaders to ask which of their ‘MPs had to be exempted’! The idea was always to save the MPs. The exercise was not to draw a list of offices that could draw benefit from the expertise or knowledge available with an MP.

Well done protectors of the people. After all if you cannot protect yourselves, how will you protect our interests? Now we are in safe hands.

First Published: Jun 01, 2006 01:03 IST