Pranabda and the Poisoned Presidency

The Office of Profit Controversy that has hounded Pranabda since yesterday. Various loopholes has been explored on the public domain. The gist of those would be as follows:

  1. Office of Profit Condition does not apply to Candidates –

Article 58 (2) of the Constitution says “A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments “

It is clear that to be elected a person should not be holding an office of profit.

2. The Parliament (Prevention Of Disqualification) Act, 1959 is the next stop.  The Act it can be seen applies only to (to quote Sec 3) :

Certain offices of profit not to disquality.- It is hereby declared that none of the following offices, in so far as it is an office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, shall disqualify the holder thereof for being chosen as, or for being, a member of Parliament, namely:-

So it can be seen that there is no exemption for a president but only for an MP.

3. The  Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendement Act, 2006No. 31 of 2006 would be the next relevant document. It might be surprising to even the most knowledgeable as to why read this when

the Basic Act is not applicable and

    1. when this Act specifically exempts the post of Chairman of The Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.

To understand this one must go through the contrived argument below:

Vide the Act the following clause was inserted:

(k) the office of Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Secretary or Member (by whatever name called) in any statutory or non- statutory body specified in the Table;

The table had this item:

TABLE [ See section 3 (k)]

S. No.    Name of body

  1. 1.            The Tripura Khadi and Village Industries Board, a body constituted under the Tripura Khadi and Village Industries Act, 1966 .
  2. 2.            The Uttar Pradesh Development Council.
  3. 3.            The Irrigation and Flood Control Commission, Uttar Pradesh.
  4. 4.            The Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.

It is this exemption that creates the trouble for Pranabda. Why exempt an office, if it is not an Office of Profit. The Standard interpretation would be that the law maker is not a fool to exempt an office unless it is necessary to do so. To labour the point, a reasonably intelligent person would conclude that the office of Chairman, ISI is an office of profit and therefore a specific exemption is given in the Act of 2006. But the Act of 2006 is an amendment to the Act of 1959 which is applicable only to MPs and not to Presidents.

4. Pranabda has wriggled out by unfair means. He will be a president. As many said he has proved he knows the Law.

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