The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959

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The Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act was enacted on 4th April 1959 to declare the certain office of profit under the Government includes both Central and State Government not to be disqualified the holders as of being the members of the Parliament. The term office of profit had been used in many national constitutions which refer the executive appointments. To secure the legislature and preserve the country’s separation of powers many countries refuses member of the legislature from entering or accepting to be as office of profit. The English Act of Settlement, 1701 and Act of Union, 1707 had been a great example of the principle of the term office of profit. As the Act of Settlement says that no person who holds the office under the king or whoever receives pension from the Crown shall be capable of serving as a member of the House of Commons.

Indian Constitution by its wider space included the term office of profit and provided explanation. Constitution of India in Article 102(1)(A) bars the member of the Indian Parliament from holding an office which in another way gives the opportunity to gain a financial advantage of profit. Post here refers to the post under respected Central and State Governments which gives salaries, perks and other benefits and the profit gained by violating the provision bears its classification. India had certain Acts such as Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1950, 1951, and 1953 which exempts certain posts as offices of profit, all the listed Acts were replaced by the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959. Section 3 of the Act, describes as the certain offices did not disqualify their holders from being members of Parliament as representatives and they could not hold the office of profit under Section 9(A) of Representation of People Act and in Article 191 (E) of the Constitution of India.

Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 consists of 5 Sections in brief and provided the explanations thereto. Act under section 3 of the Act has specifies certain offices of profit not to disqualify the persons. Government of any State in India has the authority to disqualify the holder or person for being the member of the Parliament. The offices of profit includes under the Section 3 of the Act are office held by the Minister , Chief Whip , Office of the Chairperson of National  Commission for Minorities, National Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women and other offices as included in the Act.

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Section 4 deals with the temporary suspension of disqualification in certain cases and it describes as before the commencement of Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 if a person who being the member of the Parliament holds the office of profit declared by law and not to disqualify the holder by repeal of this Act. And a person been disqualified by any of the reasons as provided in the provisions of the Act and the member should not hold the office for not more than period of six months from the commencement of the Act and disqualify the same person for being the member of the Parliament. Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 been repealed with its enactment and provisions by the earlier Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1950, 1951 & 1953.

There are many examples in India which shows how the term has its impact on Indian executive and few examples been quoted as two members of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly namely Bajrang Bahadur Singh and Uma Shankar Singh were disqualified due to holding government contracts in January 2015. While in recent days many cinema actors holds the position in Rajya Sabha and in Film Development Federation incident one among was Jaya Bachan disqualified from the Rajya Sabha as she being designated as chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Federation. And in 2006 Sonia Gandhi who holds several post includes President of Indian National Congress and disqualified from being in such posts as there been pressure from political opposition as the posts were offices of profit and to be considered as unlawful.

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by Priyadarshini Chandrasekar