Debating India

SAMAJWADI PARTY

Jaya Bachchan may lose Parliament seat

Tuesday 7 March 2006

Legal Correspondent

Election Commission recommends her disqualification as member of Rajya Sabha for simultaneously holding an "office of profit" in U.P.

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission is understood to have recommended disqualification of Jaya Bachchan as a Member of Parliament as she was holding an office of profit as Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Corporation. She was elected to the Upper House in July 2004 on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

Highly placed sources here said on Monday that the Election Commission’s recommendation had been forwarded to President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam last week for follow-up action.

A complaint was preferred to the President by Madan Mohan, a Congress leader from Kanpur, alleging that Ms. Bachchan was holding an office of profit and that she should therefore be disqualified from Parliament. It was referred to the Election Commission for verification and sending a report to the President.

Election Commission sources also said that the President had forwarded a similar complaint seeking disqualification of Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh on the ground that he was holding an ``office of profit’’ while being a Member of Parliament. Sources said that the Commission was examining the complaint.

Under Article 103 of the Constitution, ``if any question arises as to whether a Member of either House of Parliament has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in Article 102, the question shall be referred for the decision of the President and his decision shall be final. Before giving any decision on any such question, the President shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion."

The Commission had in October last year issued notice to Ms. Bachchan and heard elaborate arguments from her counsel and that of the complainant and reserved its verdict on January 16. The Commission is reported to have sent its opinion to the President on March 3.

The Congress leader had alleged that Ms. Bachchan was simultaneously holding the membership of Parliament and the post of the Chairperson of UPFDC. He said the UPFDC chairmanship conferred Cabinet rank perks and that it was an ``office of profit’’ attracting disqualification.

However, Ms. Bachchan submitted that her UPFDC post was not an office of profit and the Council was purely an advisory board. She maintained that she had not taken any salary or honorarium for her services. However, she admitted that she had been granted facilities by UPFDC.

Jaya Bachchan on Monday said she might move the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify her [as member of Rajya Sabha] for holding an office of profit.

See online : The Hindu

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