The Mulayam Singh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh received a setback on Thursday when the state Governor refused to give his immediate approval to a bill, which would have saved the disqualification of cinestar Jaya Bachchan and Amar Singh from the Rajya Sabha along with others.
State Governor T V Rajeswar refused to give his immediate approval to the UP State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1971, amendment bill, which sought to put some departments outside the purview of offices of profit, and asked for some clarifications.
The Election Commission had recommended the disqualification of Samajwadi Party leader and chairperson of UP Film Development Council Jaya Bachchan, which is pending before President A P J Abdul Kalam, and is also considering disqualification of Amar Singh, who heads the state development council, for holding offices of profit.
The bill introduced with retrospective effect from January 1, 2003, which the assembly passed on March 9 to exempt heads of 79 corporation, boards and councils from posts of profit, was sent to Raj Bhavan the next day along with four others bills for approval.
While the Governor cleared the four bills without batting an eyelid, he decided to seek the opinion of legal experts after receiving the amendment bill. Sources said the governor was in no hurry to take a decision as the issue of Jaya Bachchan and Amar Singh's disqualification were pending with the office of the President.
Other MPs and MLAs holding offices of profit include Shivpal Singh Yadav (chairperson of Mandi Parishad), Anuradha Choudhury (chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Irrigation and Flood Control Commission) and Mohammad Azam Khan (chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam).
Opposition parties had protested against the bill in the assembly, branding it as 'unconstitutional and undemocratic'. The chief minister had however said that he was always against any draconian law in the country and had even campaigned for open ballot in the Rajya Sabha polls. "I am moving this amendment to give more freedom to the legislators and members of Parliament," he said.
In the amendment, the government has proposed that the term 'daily allowances' be changed to 'honorarium' so that parliamentarians can financially benefit from more than one office without attracting the provisions of disqualification in the Act.