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OoP: Govt to present legislation again

Cabinet will take a decision on bringing it in its present form or with revisions.

india Updated: May 31, 2006 23:20 IST

Unfazed by the President's return of the Office-of-Profit Bill, the Government on Wednesday said that it would once again present the legislation for the President's nod.

The Bill seeks to exempt several posts from being considered an office of profit.

The Cabinet will decide on Thursday whether to present the Bill in the "current form or amended form".

Law Minister HR Bhardwaj said that there was no lacunae in the Bill, but since the President has returned it "we would respectfully reconsider it".

Dismissing suggestions that the action of the President was a "setback" to the government, he said that this was a part of the democratic process, which has various checks and balances.

Besides, he said, if the Parliament approved the measure in its present form, then the President would have to give his assent.

Bhardwaj said he was in constant touch with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue and had already prepared a note for the consideration of the Cabinet, which will meet on Thursday.

Replying to questions, Bhardwaj expressed confidence that the Office-of-Profit Bill, passed by the Parliament, would pass judicial scrutiny.

"I do not see any deficiency. We do not frame wrong legislations. But even the best of legislations are judicially challenged. The courts have the powers of judicial review," the Law Minister said.

Asked if the Election Commission could take action against MPs on the Office-of-Profit issue before the fresh legislation is tabled in Parliament, the Law Minister said "I don't know ... Can't say anything on this. But we will table the Bill as soon as possible, most probably in the Monsoon Session".

When pressed repeatedly whether the action of the President was a "setback" and an "embarrassment" for the Government, he said, "How can it be a setback? It has been passed by both Houses of the Parliament. Later, it was in the purview of the President and his direction will be respectfully considered".

First Published: May 31, 2006 10:34 IST