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Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 75

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Union Government and Administration)

(Current Based) Question: Discuss issue of Office of Profit in the context of legislature’s institutional separation. (15 Marks/200 Words)

Model Answer:

The concept of office of profit originates from Britain where, during the conflicts between the Crown and the Parliament in the 16th century, the House of Commons disqualified members from holding executive appointments under the Monarch. The underlying principle behind this is the doctrine of separation of powers.

The office of profit rule seeks to ensure that legislators act independently and are not lured by offers from the executive. India’s Constitution makers adopted this idea under Articles 102(1)(a) and 191(1)(a) which state that a lawmaker will be disqualified if he or she occupies “any office of profit” under the Central or State governments, other than those offices exempted by law. While the term “office of profit” is not defined in the Constitution, the Supreme Court, in multiple decisions, has laid out its contours.

It is often ignored that holding the government to account is not only the Opposition’s role but also that of the entire legislature. Rewarding MLAs with executive posts can restrict them from performing their primary role.Unless legislatures are truly strengthened and the disproportionate power of the executive in the legislature curtailed, the demand for creating such posts will continue to persist. (Total Words- 194)

Valuable inputs from The Hindu Opinion : ‘A Path to Executive Power’ by Mathew Idiculla

(Linkages: Office of Profit and Legislature’s Institutional Separation, Office of Profit and British House of Commons, Office of Profit and Articles 102(1)(a) and 191(1)(a) of Indian Constitution)

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