Daily Vocabulary Dose by SSCtube (31-01-2018)
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On January 21, President Ram Nath Kovind approved the recommendation of the Election Commission (EC) to disqualify 20 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). They were deemed to have been holding offices of profit as they were parliamentary secretaries to ministers in the Delhi government. The party protested the move saying the EC had acted in a unilateral manner as its MLAs had not been given a hearing.
There is a lot at stake here since disqualification necessitates by-elections. However, due to the comfortable majority the AAP enjoys, the move will not bring down the Delhi government.
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. Thus the position of the parliamentary secretaries became precarious.
The Delhi High Court, in September 2016, set aside the appointment of parliamentary secretaries since it lacked the approval of the Lieutenant Governor. Citing this, the AAP claimed that since the appointment was anyway void, the MLAs could not be said to have been occupying an office of profit. However, the EC said that the MLAs “de facto” held the office of parliamentary secretaries. The AAP now alleges that the EC is acting in a partisan manner, as in other States, the striking down of the office of parliamentary secretaries has not resulted in the disqualification of MLAs. Recently, the Supreme Court struck down the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, calling it unconstitutional. Hence, the issue has a chequered legal past.
The creation of such posts can also be attributed to the larger institutional malaise facing the legislatures. Lawmakers have been enfeebled over the years through measures such as binding party whips and a purely executive-driven legislative agenda. In such an institutional milieu, lawmakers increasingly seek positions with perks to exercise influence. 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.
- Protested: express an objection to what someone has said or done. विरोध करना
Synonyms: object, dissent, complain
The doctors and patients protested against plans to cut services at the hospital.
- Stake: at risk. दाँवSynonyms: risk, danger
The people’s lives could be at stake.
- Lured: tempt to do something or to go somewhere, especially by offering some form of reward. लालच
Synonyms: tempt, attract, persuade
Antonyms: deter, put off
The child was lured into a car but managed to escape.
- Contours: an outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something. आकृतिSynonyms: outline, shape, form
Antonyms : crooked, straight, sharpness
She traced the contours of his face with her finger.
- Precarious: dependent on chance; uncertain. अनिश्चित
Synonyms: uncertain, insecure, unreliable
Antonyms: certain, definite, guarded
He made a precarious living as a painter.
- Allege: claim or assert that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically without proof. आरोप
Synonyms: charge, depose, cite
Antonyms: deny, take, withdraw
He alleged that he had been assaulted.
- Partisan: prejudiced in favour of a particular cause. पक्षपातपूर्ण
Synonyms: biased, prejudiced, one sided
Antonyms: impartial, unbiased
The newspapers have become increasingly partisan.
- Chequered: marked by periods of varied fortune or discreditable incidents. विचित्र
Synonyms: varied, mixed, eventful
Antonyms: similar, same
The chequered history of post-war Britain surprised him.
- Attributed: regard something as being caused by. जिम्मेदार ठहराया
Synonyms: ascribe, assign, accredit
He attributed the firm’s success to the efforts of the managing director.
- Enfeebled: make weak or feeble. कमज़ोर
Synonyms: weaken, make weak, debilitate
Antonyms: refresh, energise, strengthen
The trade unions are in an enfeebled state.