SC reserves verdict on petitions on office of profit Act

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Act taking out some offices from the list of Offices of Profit to shield and protect some influential political leaders from being disqulified as MPs or MLAs.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal reserved the judgement against the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1950 as amended in 2006 after the arguements were concluded.

Senior Counsel Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioners, contended before the court that the impugned amendment was a fraud played on the Constitution by the Government and was aimed at protecting 40-odd MPs from being disqualified.

In all 55 offices have been taken out from the list of Offices of Profit.

Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the government, however, defended the step and justified the amendment on the grounds that it was a comprehensive legislation aimed at protecting the elected representatives of the people from the politically motivated complaints lodged against them by their political rivals to unseat them.

During the week-long hearing at one stage the court also suspected the intentions of the government in bringing such an amendment.

Samajwadi party Rajya Sabha member Jaya Bachchan was the first to lose her Rajya Sabha seat for holding an Office of Profit.

Later on, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to resign her Lok Sabha seat as well as from the post of Chairperson of National Advisory Council.

Both the leaders have since been re-elected. Other important leaders who faced similar allegations included Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Samajwadi Party MP Amar Singh.

UNI AKS/SC DS RP RN1719

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