With the office of profit issue erupting into a fresh controversy, Left parties on Thursday demanded setting up of a special parliamentary committee to go into the matter and said that it was for the Parliament to decide whether to pass the bill in the present or amended form.
The Left parties, which met in New Delhi on Thursday, also warned the Election Commission against precipitating the issue of disqualification petitions filed against several MPs, including 11 Left members led by Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, taking advantage of the situation caused by the President returning the bill to Parliament.
Communist Party of India leader A B Bardhan, however, sought to dismiss the objections raised by President A P J Abdul Kalam on the issue of uniformity in the legislation, contending that states had their own definitions and list of offices of profit.
Addressing a press conference, CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat steered clear of questions whether the Left wanted the bill to be passed in its present form and returned to the President. "Parliament should decide" was his and other Left leaders' refrain to such queries.
Karat said the Left was not for advancing the Monsoon Session or calling a special session to deal with the situation caused by the return of the bill by the President.
Asked whether they supported the contention that the law should come into effect retrospectively, Karat said "even the Supreme Court has given rulings" that laws could be enforced with retrospective effect. "There are many such instances."
On the Election Commission's reported statements that it would proceed on the disqualification notices it has received, the Left leader said, "We do not want the EC to be drawn into further controversies. The Commission has already taken several controversial decisions during the recent assembly polls."
In response to a question on the petition filed by Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy against Left members including Somnath Chatterjee, Karat said, "We don't find any basis for the EC to seek further material " on his complaint.
"Now, on the basis of a Bharataiya Janata Party demand, the Commission says it will proceed on the complaints against several MPs and MLAs of various parties. The EC should not get embroiled into further controversy," he said.