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Office of Profit

Topics covered: 

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Office of Profit

 

What to study?

For Prelims: What is office of profit and how is it determined?

For Mains: Criticisms and controversies surrounding, ways to address them.

 

Context: Punjab cabinet has decided to bring an ordinance to exclude the appointments of advisors to CM from the ambit of the office of profit.

 

What’s the issue?

The appointments were termed by the opposition as an attempt to circumvent the constitutional cap on the size of state’s Cabinet. 91st Amendment of Article 164(1A) of the Constitution mandates that the strength of ministers cannot exceed 15% of the total members of the House.

 

What is an ‘office of profit’?

If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”.

A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.

 

What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?

Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191.

They can be disqualified for: a) Holding an office of profit under government of India or state government; b) Being of unsound mind; c) Being an undischarged insolvent; d) Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.

 

What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?

Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.

 

Sources: the hindu.