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Arunachal Assembly passes bill on Office of Profit

Written by: Staff
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Itanagar, May 15 (UNI) The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly, in a special session today, passed an amended bill to safeguard legislators holding office of profits despite strong protests from Opposition BJP which staged a walk-out.

The bill would, however, come into force from September 1, 2004.

Titled 'The Arunachal Pradesh Legislature Members (Prevention of disqualifications) (Amendment) Bill, 2006, it was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Tako Dabi and later passed by a voice vote.

The 77-minute special session was summoned by Governor S K Singh after a delegation of 22 MLAs from the Congress and its allies, led by Mr. Dabi, on May 12 apprised him of the fact that they were immune from disqualification under a 1977 Act.

The bill would prevent disqualification of members holding office of profits including chief minister, minister, speaker, deputy speaker, chief whip, deputy chief whip, parliamentary secretary and advisor to the chief minister.

Taking part in the discussion Opposition Leader Kameng Dolo said the issue of office of profit was the creation of the UPA at the centre and now 'they were facing the music'.

He alleged that appointment of parliamentary secretaries, advisors and chairmen was done by Chief Minister Gegong Apang by violating the provisions of the Act.

Reacting to the allegations Mr. Apang, however, clarified that the appointments were made after due consultation with his cabinet colleagues and legal experts. ''Arunachal being a special category state we have to have our own laws to suit our requirements,'' he pointed out and termed the move of the opposition for staging walkout as a mockery to democracy.

The issue of office of profit rocked the state in recent times after UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi resigned from her post as well as from Member of Parliament. The state unit of BJP forced the governor to recommend the names of 25 MLAs to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for their disqualification as members of the state assembly.

However, the ECI had asked the BJP to submit by May 19 next 'substantial evidence' in support of its demand for disqualifying those MLAs for holding offices of profit after their election to the assembly in October, 2004.

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