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Law on office of profit to be amended: Govt

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 30 (UNI) The government today decided to have a Parliament session from May 10-23 to amend the law relating to disqualification of MPs for holding offices-of -profit in the wake of the controversy that has resulted in the resignation of Congress President Sonia Gandhi as an MP and demands for unseating of at least 18 MPs, including Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, and several MLAs in NDA-ruled Jharkhand.

The nature of the proposed law would be decided on the basis of suggestions from various parties, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) which took the decision.

The CCPA meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, authorised the Leader of the Lok Sabha and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee to write to the parties that had representation in Parliament, seeking their views at the earliest, but without setting a deadline, Mr Dasmunsi said.

Since the first leg of the Budget session of Parliament, which was adjourned sine die on March 22, had not been prorogued, the presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha could reconvene the two Houses without the need for a Presidential notification, he said.

The Minister said the government while recommending the sine die adjournment of Parliament to the presiding officers had given an assurance that it would try to maintain the schedule of the second leg of the session.

''The CCPA agreed to comply with that assurance and accordingly the post-sine die session shall commence from May 10 and last till May 23'' to transact the normal business listed for the period, besides the amendment to the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, Mr Dasmunsi said.

Several legislative business which had been cleared by the Cabinet would be taken by Parliament during the sitting, he said.

The government had decided against convening an all party meeting to consider the issue as the principal opposition, BJP, and the Samajwadi Party, whose Rajya Sabha member Ms Jaya Bachchan was disqualified for holding an office of profit, were not in favour of such an exercise, the Minister said.

''The only requirement is legislation and so we are not having an all party meet,'' he said.

Asked whether the government had already drafted a Bill and was seeking the views of the political parties only to make changes in the draft, Mr Dasmunsi said ''no, no, no.'' To a question on whether the government was looking for a comprehensive law or merely an amendment, he said it would be based on the views of the political parties.


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