(IGP) GS Paper 1 – Indian Polity & Governance – “Office of Profit”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS

Subject – Indian Polity & Governance
Chapter : Office of Profit

Office of Profit

Clause (a) of Article 102 of the Constitution of India says a person shall be
disqualified for

  • Election as a member of Parliament and

  • for being (continuing) a member of either house of

If he holds any “office of profit” under the Government
of India or the Government of any State. However, other than an office
declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder.

The aim of the provision is to

  • prevent conflict of interest between the members of
    parliament and the executive. To explain, the job of the MP is to hold the
    executive answerable which he can not do if he is himself a part of the

  • secure independence of the MPs. It is not possible if the
    legislator is a member of the executive.

  • ensure that Parliament does not contain persons who have
    received favours or benefits from the executive and who consequently might
    be amenable to its influence.

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The exemption from the definition of ‘office of profit’

  • However, has been done by Parliament on a case by case
    and ad hoc basis and not on the basis of any universal definition. In fact
    there is neither a Constitutional nor statutory definition of “office of
    profit” One source of clarity on the expression are the rulings of courts.
    Another source are the Election Commission rulings. .

  • On the recommendations of the JPC, it is the Parliament
    that declares whether an office is non-profit or otherwise. Parliament may
    do so with retrospective application, according to the Supreme Court verdict
    in Kanta vs. Menak Chandra case 1970.

The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment
Act 2006

  • Parliament passed the Parliament (Prevention of
    Disqualification) Amendment Bill, 2006.

  • The primary aim of the Bill was to shield the MPs holding
    offices that could be interpreted as office of profit. It did so by
    declaring that these offices were not offices of profit.

  • The Bill allowed MPs to continue their membership in
    Parliament even while holding the offices that were alleged to be offices of
    profit another point is that the Bill gave retrospective effect to the
    offices contained in it from 1959. The Bill exempts 56 positions held by 40
    members of Parliament.

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