Apex courts reserves verdict on office of profit law

March 5th, 2008 - 8:30 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday reserved its verdict on the law on office of profit, allegedly enacted to protect around 40 parliamentarians from being unseated for holding additional offices in various government bodies. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan reserved the judgement after hearing concluding arguments on two petitions by Trinamool Congress leaders challenging the constitutional validity of the 2006 amendment to the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification Act), 1950.

The amendment had removed around 55 offices within various government bodies, corporations and board, occupied by around 40 parliamentarian and 15 state legislators, from the list of offices of profit, protecting their holders from being disqualified as per the original 1950 law.

The bench, which also included Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice J.M. Panchal, reserved its verdict dismissing Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran’s argument that the petitioners had no locus standi to question the constitutional validity of the amendment.

He contended that the petitions moved the apex court under Article 32 of the constitution, which could be invoked only when a petitioner’s fundamental rights are violated.

But the bench rejected his contentions, saying: “The petitioners have contended that had those legislators been unseated, it would have vital implication for country’s democracy.”

At this Parasaran sought to argue further saying that “Democracy is a pillar…” but the bench cut him short and said: “Democracy is not a pillar, but the building itself. It’s entire scheme of governance.”

The bench had Tuesday doubted the government’s intention behind amending the law. It had suspected that the law was amended to save some particular persons from being unseated as parliamentarians by deleting from the list of the offices of profit the particular offices held by them and not giving similar protection to all other individuals holding similar offices in other states.

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