Mumbai: As the saying goes that ‘one foot cannot stand in two boats’ some politicians always tend to act contrary to this and prefer to hold two posts at one time.
While a Member of Parliament (MP) or a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) cannot hold either of these at one time, some have taken advantage of a few loopholes in the laws to use the post of a Corporator in a Municipal Corporation.
One such instance is that of Shiv Sena leader Rahul Shewale, who was elected as a MP from city’s South-Central constituency in 2014 but he chose not to give up his Corporator post from Mandala Village constituency in Mankhurd.
Speaking to the Free Press Journal, Shewale said, “I continued my post as a Corporator even after being elected as a MP because my party told me not to resign. I think it is legal to hold the two posts as there have been many other people who did the same.”
Whether this practice followed by MPs and MLAs is legal or not is debatable.
One of the most significant provisions cited in these situations is the Article 102 of the Indian Constitution, which bars a MP from holding an office that would give its occupant the opportunity to gain a financial advantage or benefit. It refers to a post under central/state government which yields salaries, perks and other benefits. These offices are often termed as ‘Office of Profit’.
While speaking about this issue, Justice (retd.) VG Palshikar said, “There is no illegality in one person holding two posts at the same time especially that of a MP and Corporator because these are the ‘representatives of the people’. These people get paid for their work and service that they render for the welfare of the people of their respective constituencies. There are certain benefits they get like quarters, cell phones, cars etc but just because of these two things one cannot call them as offices of profit.”
Giving a contrary view over this issue, Justice (retd.) RMS Khandeparkar said, “I don’t want to get into the legality or illegality of this practice but in my view if a person holds such positions, he/she should give up either of the posts on moral grounds. The contention that they get paid for their service, can seriously not be accepted.”
“These politicians should understand that only they are not working for the people. If given a thought, even the judges work for the people as we are here to provide justice to the people. In our case, if we are appointed to some post after our retirement, then we are not allowed to take benefit even of our own pensions. This must be applied in the case of politicians too,” Justice Khandeparkar added.
Meanwhile, advocate Uday Warunjikar said, “The recommendation given by the Justice Lodha panel (for BCCI) of ‘one person one post’ must be implemented in politics too. There are chances that such persons would not be able to justify the both the positions with one foot in Delhi and another in the city.”