M A I N   N E W S

SC dashes Jaya’s hope
Dismisses petition on office of profit

New Delhi, May 8
The Supreme Court today dismissed actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan’s petition challenging her disqualification as Rajya Sabha MP by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the recommendation of the Election Commission for holding an office of profit.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal said the law on the issue was settled since 1954 and what was material was not whether the person actually received any remuneration or pecuniary gains, but whether the office he or she held was itself of profit.

“In this view, the question whether the petitioner (Jaya Bachchan) actually received any pecuniary gain is not material....” the Bench said adding that “we do not find any merit in the petition”.

Senior counsel Fali Nariman had requested the court to clarify the position as there were several cases, including those from various states, pending before the Election Commission and the commission was “wielding stick” on legislators on the office of profit issue.

The Samajwadi Party leader had sought declaring as “null and void” the President’s order and EC’s opinion recommending her disqualification as member of the Rajya Sabha, contending that she never made actual pecuniary gains from the alleged office of profit in her position as chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Corporation (UPFDC).

In her petition, Bachchan had said that the cases decided by the apex court under Article 102(1)(a) and Article 191(1)(a) of the Constitution held that even where a post or office carries remuneration or pay, in the absence of proof of any actual pecuniary gain to the holder from that office, the holder cannot be said to be holding “an office of profit”.

Jaya Bachchan was disqualified as Member of the Rajya Sabha on March 16.

Her disqualification was with retrospective effect from July 14, 2004, 10 days after her election on July 4, 2004 when she was appointed to the Film Council post.

It may be noted here that Congress President Sonia Gandhi resigned from her Lok Sabha seat as well as from the post of chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) in view of the same controversy surrounding her when there were allegations that the post of chairperson of NAC was an office of profit.

Over 30 MPs and around 200 MLAs are facing disqualification proceedings for holding office of profit. — PTI, UNI

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