Salve contends amendment is to protect senior political leaders

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New Delhi, Feb 27 (UNI) Senior counsel Harish Salve contended before the Supreme Court today that the constitutional amendment taking out several offices from the list of office of profit was a fraud on powers of the government and the impugned amendment is solely meant for protecting some senior political leaders such as Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Amar Singh, Jaya Bachchan and others.

Appearing for the petitioner, Mr Salve also contended before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal that 55 offices have been taken out from the list of office-of-profit under the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment act 2006 to shield the politicians from being disqualified under articles 101, 102 of the constitution.

At the time of amendment,46 complaints were pending before the Election Commission seeking disqualification of MPs and MLAs who were holding the office of profit while continuing as MPs and MLAs.

Mr Salve also contended that the provisions of the constitution of India were meant to tell the politicians ''do not use office to seduce people''.

He also contended that a state tribunal or state legislature cannot nullify the central tribunal formed by the central government under the central laws.

At one stage, the issue was also raised whether for disqualification the MP or MLA should be holding the office of profit at the time of filing his nomination papers and whether he can be disqualified if he accepts the office of profit after being elected.

The apex court also wanted to know from the counsel for the petitioner whether the issue should be reffered to a constitutional bench since it involved an important issue relating to the cleansing of public life in the country.

The petitions have been filed by Consumer Education and Research society and Dinesh Trivedi, an MP challenging the constitutional validity of the impugned amendment.

Samajwadi party memmber of Rajya Sabha Jaya Bachchan was the first to be disqualified for holding the office of profit.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to resign from her Lok Sabha seat for holding the post of chairperson of national advisory council and she recontested the by-election from Amethi and returned to Lok Sabha.

Jaya was also re-elected to Rajya Sabha.

UNI AKS SC SY AS1657

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