New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) Citing several reasons and a string of Supreme Court rulings, Samajwadi Party General Secretary Amar Singh has strongly contended that he is not holding an office of profit that warrants his disqualification as a Rajya Sabha member.
In a six-page reply to the Election Commission, which had slapped a notice on him, the high profile MP also questioned the EC's wisdom in recommending the disqualification of his party MP, Ms Jaya Bachchan, without appreciating relevant laws ''in their proper perspective.'' Seeking six more weeks for a detailed response, Mr Singh argued, among other things, that the complaint against him itself was not valid as it had not been made either by Parliament or by its Joint Committee on Office Profit as mandated under the Constitution.
In the letter to the Commission, sent through his lawyer, the SP leader also questioned EC's recommedation for the disqualification of his party MP, Ms Jaya Bachchan, contending that the commission had failed to appreciate the relevant laws ''in their proper perspective.'' In his six-page interim reply, he also took strong exception to the fact that the reference to EC had been made by the President's Secretary and not by the President himself.
Quoting Uttar Pradesh Governor's memoranda on the office of Chairman of the UP Development Council, which Mr Singh holds allegedly in violation of the law relating to the office of profit, he contended that the provisions of the memoranda had made it clear that the post was outside the purview of the provisions which attract disqualification.
Mr Singh said that before taking up the Chairmanship of the UPDC, he had written to the Parliamentary committee to which he had not got a reply so far.
Clarifying that he was not getting any pecuniary benefits or perks from the post, he said Supreme Court rulings had made it clear that in the absence of any profit accruing as result of holding an office did not fall in the ambit of office of profit.
On March 10, the EC had slapped a notice on the SP leader on a complaint forwarded by President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking his disqualification.
In the wake of SP MP, Ms Jaya Bachchan's disqualification by the President, Mr Singh had offered to resign, but the party leadership had advised him against the move.
According to political circles, Mr Singh seeking six weeks' time from the EC is aimed at borrowing a breather till Parliament enacts a law during the session commencing on May 10 taking out a large chunk of such offices out of the purview of the disqualification law.
Petitions have also been filed for disqualification of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee (Chairman of Sriniketan- Shantiniketan Development Authority), Union Minister Subbirami Reddy (Chairman, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams), VK Malhotra (former President of All India Council of Sports), senior Congress leader Karan Singh (ICCR) and nominated Rajya Sabha member Kapila Vatsyayan.
Dr Karan Singh and Ms Vatsyayan have since resigned from the Rajya Sabha.
In all, more than 60 MPs are said to be in various posts, including 10 from the Left, that could attract their disqualification.
UNI SKS/SN PA HS1558