The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Governor returns profit bill

Gangtok, June 15: Sikkim governor V. Rama Rao has returned two bills on the office of profit issue, but the state government has decided to reintroduce and pass them without modification.

'A session of the Assembly has been convened on June 19 when the two bills would be passed again without modification and'sent to the governor for assent,' a PTI report quoting B.B. Gooroong, adviser to chief minister Pawan Chamling, said. According to Gooroong, when the bills are passed, as they are, for a second time, the governor would be bound to give his assent under Article 200 of the Constitution.

The Sikkim State Legislator's Appointment to Different Authorities Bill and Sikkim Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualification) Amendment Bill have been returned by the governor, who has raised questions about 'the desirability of the provision of retrospective effect incorporated in the two bills'.

While the first of the two bills provides for appointment of the legislators to different organisations without attracting disqualification, the second makes an amendment to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Members (Removal of Disqualifications) Act 1978 to widen its scope.

The Sikkim governor's dissent follows close on the heels of the President's, who had on May 30 returned the office of profit bill to Parliament for 'reconsideration'. The President, too, seems to have had misgivings about the retrospective clause in the bill, which would help several MPs escape disqualification. Earlier this month, Jharkhand governor Syed Sibtey Razi returned the office-of-profit bill to the Assembly for 'reconsideration'.

Sikkim was rocked by the office of profit controversy when the state Congress complained to the governor, asking him to disqualify 17 legislators for holding such offices.

The governor had referred the matter to the Election Commission of India. Much to the relief of the MLAs, it was soon found out that an act protecting them from disqualification has been in existence in Sikkim since 1978. The commission had in the meantime asked the MLAs to respond to its notice by June 23.

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