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Punjab Govt to Amend Office of Profit Law to Entitle MLAs to More posts Without Disqualification

With the fresh amendments, the Punjab government will be able to appoint MLAs as chairpersons, vice chairpersons or directors of various boards or corporations.

PTI

Updated:August 21, 2018, 9:28 PM IST
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Punjab Govt to Amend Office of Profit Law to Entitle MLAs to More posts Without Disqualification
File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (PTI)
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Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Tuesday decided to amend a law on the office of profit to exclude several posts from its ambit, and shield MLAs from disqualification for holding them.

The decision was taken by the state Cabinet in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The move follows Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore's refusal last month to give assent to an ordinance, amending the law, which would have enabled the MLAs to become chairpersons of various boards and corporations without facing disqualification on the grounds of holding offices of profit.

The governor had asked the government to take the assembly route to amend it.

With the fresh amendments, the Punjab government will be able to appoint MLAs as chairpersons, vice chairpersons or directors of various boards or corporations.

After the Cabinet expansion in April, several ruling party MLAs including Sangat Singh Gilzian, Nathu Ram, Surjit Singh Dhiman, Navtej Singh Cheema had expressed disappointment over not being inducted as ministers.

"The Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will be tabled in the forthcoming session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha following the Cabinet nod to the new legislation," said an official spokesperson.

As per the proposed amendments, various categories of offices would be added to the current list of positions and offices which the MLAs can hold without inviting disqualification, the spokesperson added.

He said the Bill seeks to amend Section 2 of the present Act, which excludes various offices from the ambit of the office of profit law.

Accordingly, the bill proposes to add some new offices to the exclusion list under section 2 of the Act to shield MLAs from disqualification for holding them.

He said the Bill would amend section 2 to include in its exclusion list the chairmen or the members of a committee, set up temporarily for advising the government on a matter of public importance or for making an inquiry.

The holders of such offices, however, will not be entitled to any remuneration other than compensatory allowances to stay out of the ambit of the office of profit law, he said.

He said it would also exempt from the ambit of the office of profit law the chairmen, directors or the members of any statutory or non-statutory body, but they would not be entitled to any remuneration except compensatory allowance.

He said the Section 2 of the present Act includes only the offices of ministers, including the chief minister, the minister of state or the deputy minister as being out of the ambit of the office of profit law.

The other offices presently included in the exclusion list under section 2, he said, are those of chairman, vice chairman, deputy chairman of the state planning board, besides the offices of the leader and deputy leader of a recognised party or a recognised group in the Vidhan Sabha.

The posts of the chief whip, deputy chief whip and other whips of various legislature party too are presently out of the ambit of the office of profit law, he added.

The spokesperson said the amendments are aimed at addressing the complexities of modern-day governance and include incorporation of a new Section 1A to provide for the definitions of the terms like "compensatory allowance", "statutory body" and "non-statutory body".

As per Section 1A, "compensatory allowance" would mean any sum of money payable to the holder of an office by way of daily allowance, conveyance allowance, hose-rent allowance or travelling allowance as reimbursement to his expenditures incurred in performing the functions of that office.
| Edited by: Parth Sharma
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