ECI Recommends disqualification of 20 MLAs

Why in News?

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recommended to the President that 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs be disqualified on the office-of-profit charge.

 

FACTS FOR PRELIMS

Background

In 2015, Delhi Govt. had appointed 21 parliamentary secretaries to six Ministers. This post was not exempted from the definition of “Office of Profit”. Delhi government then brought an amendment to Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, to make the position of Parliamentary Secretary exempt from the definition of “Office of Profit”. But the President refused to give his consent to the amendment.

Constitutional Provision

i)Article 102(1)(a) and Article 191(1)(a) – A  person shall be disqualified as a member of Parliament or of a Legislative Assembly/Council if he holds an “Office of Profit” under the central or any state government (other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by the Parliament or state legislature).

ii)Article 164 (1A)-  It provides for limiting the number of Ministers in the State Cabinets to 15 percent of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly.  The limit is 10% for Delhi, owing to its special status.

 

NOTE4STUDENTS – A Parliament Secretary holds the rank of Minister of State.

Office of Profit

Office of profit’ is not defined in the Constitution. However, based on past judgments, the Election Commission has noted five below tests for what constitutes an office of profit:

i)Whether the government makes the appointment

ii)Whether the government has the right to remove or dismiss the holder.

iii)Whether the government pays remuneration.

iv)What the functions of the holder are.

v) Does the government exercise any control over the performance of these functions?

 

Parliamentary Secretary

Parliamentary Secretary is a member of the Parliament in the Westminster system, who assists a more senior minister.

The post has been created in several states now and then like Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan etc. However, various petitions in the High Court have challenged the appointment of Parliament Secretary. At present, the posts do exist in various states such as Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.

 

Source-The Indian Express.