TODAY -

Twelve profits of office

Free Thinker *



If you are holding a post there are many benefits attached to it, directly pecuniary or indirectly many. There are about 12 obvious benefits. They are as follows:

The office normally provides a salary or consolidated pay or honorarium or token money to the office holder.
The office usually has a room or space in an establishment for the incumbent officer /official to sit or occupy.
The office will provide a car or vehicle or transport allowance to the person in office.

The incumbent official/officer is entitled to have TA/DA/CA etc. "CA" - it requires enlightenment; it means chamchagiri allowance normally given by the person or persons above in the hierarchy.
Telephone or mobile charges are reimbursed or given a lump-sum amount for the same.
Newspaper/ magazine allowance is also normally given to the incumbent.
Medical facilities are extended not only to the person holding the post but also to her/his family members .

Chai , Pani expenses of the office are certainly included. Expenditure amount depends on how big the incumbent is.
The institution or establishment will provide a pen, pencil, paper, computer, table-chair and sometimes sofa set.
Loan facility is also extended for buying a car, personal computer, laptop, or even for the construction of own house.

Driver, peon, personal assistant etc are directly or indirectly attached to the office / office holder.
Once appointed it is difficult to remove. It requires a tedious process. Even Courts find it difficult to do the needful.

One gentleman asked me, is there any difference between 'office of profit' and 'profits of office'? I told him "frankly speaking there is hardly any difference between the two, the only difference is office of profit is on a higher pedestal because many important persons do hold it, whereas the profits of office are enjoyed by one and sundry". A few scholars have written books on "office of profit ". But none has written a book on the 'profits of office'. One must try.

These days newspapers are also not available because of some calamity. That is why we are unable to get enlightened by the reports on the burning issues. Once I had the opportunity to listen to a debate about the Office of Profit; I am rather confused by the arguments. This is a Constitutional and legal matter. Clarity must be maintained while expressing the views so that the viewers or listeners understand the issue clearly. Let the people at least understand that office means profit.

What is 'office of profit'? What are the Constitutional provisions? What are the relevant Acts Central and State? What is the latest Supreme Court verdict on the issue/ matter? Whether the State Laws can still operate or survive after the SC verdict? What is the sequence of events? Then the matter will automatically come to the logical conclusion.

The Constitution or the RPA does not define the office of profit. The Constitution has only mentioned it under Article 102 and 191 .The law is not very clear about what constitutes an office of profit; but the definition has evolved over the years with decisions made in various judgments.

An office of profit has been interpreted to be a position that brings to the office holder some pecuniary gain or advantage or benefit . Even a rupee is considered profit. The essence of disqualification under the 'office of profit' law is, if the lawmaker (if not provided or exempted by law) holds an office under the government, he/she may not be able to discharge the mandated constitutional duties. Even under normal circumstances they don't.

A person will be disqualified if he /she holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by parliament or state.

The biggest loophole in this law is again the non existence of a timeline for deciding such a case. Like the defection cases, there is also no deadline to process and decide a petition relating to the Office of Profit. In a five year's term if defection or OoP cases take about four and half years to settle, it is an extremely lucrative situation for the lawyers.

I am not a Constitutional expert but sometimes I feel I know many things, constitutional or otherwise. I have a 'Duki'( learned friends will acknowledge the significance of Duki) Law degree from Delhi University passed out from a night college- that does not mean that I am completely useless.

I know this much that a Federal Court verdict is the law of the land, until and unless it is fired by itself. The matter was res judicata in Bimolangshu Roy ( SC Ruling 2017). So friends, what is the hurry?

"If you are privy to confidential communication- that is also profit of office"- Overheard.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 14 2021.



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