Electoral Reforms In India

EC recommends disqualification of AAP MLAs: Past instances of ‘office of profit’ cases


Mains Paper 2: Polity | Parliament & State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges & issues arising out of these.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Election Commission, Office of Profit, Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006

Mains level: Provisions related to qualification and disqualifications of legislators

20 MLAs of Delhi Assembly disqualified

  1. The Election Commission has recommended to the President the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs of Delhi Assembly on charges of holding an ‘Office of Profit
  2. The 20 AAP legislators have been accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to aid various ministers of the Delhi government
  3. The president is bound to act on advice of Election commission

Office of Profit according to constitution

  1. As per the Constitution, the ‘Office of Profit’ bars MP and MLAs from accepting government positions carrying some financial remuneration or any other benefit such as office space or even a car
  2. Any violation of this provision would amount to disqualification of the legislator
  3.  The aim of this provision is to preserve the independence of the legislature by keeping its members away from any temptations from the executive

Past Judicial pronouncements related to office of profit

These say there are two indispensable ingredients of an office of profit

  • There should be an office and
  • The office should carry some profit
  1. In U.C.Raman vs P.T.A.Rahim and Ors, the Supreme Court categorically stated: “The word ‘profit’ has always been treated equivalent to or a substitute for the term ‘pecuniary gain’”
  2. The principle that an “office” should have “receivables” attached to it for it to qualify as an OoP, has been upheld in other cases as well

Backdoor provision

  1. The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006 provides for exempting 56 posts from being considered an office of profit
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