Introducing the Bill, Law Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj debunked the arguments of Leader of the Opposition L K Advani that the amendment sought by the Bill to exclude the office of the NAC from the list of offices of profit, pertained to a Constitutional amendment.
''Mr Advani lacked the basic knowledge of the law that NAC was not a constitutional body and its chairperson is not a constitutional appointment... the NAC is not even a statutory body,'' Mr Bhardwaj said.
''Moreover, the Opposition could block the introduction of the Bill on the ground of legislative incompetence of the House,'' he said.
This Bill is only meant to amend a clause to enlarge its scope and to enlist more offices to be exempted from the purview of this Act which had already been amended twice in 1953 and 1959.
On the other hand, Mr Advani maintained that he was opposing the amending of clause 2(1) in the Act through an ordinary Bill as it clearly envisaged a constitutional amendment because it pertains to the exemption of NAC which monitored the implementation of the National Common Minimum Programme and also provided the policy inputs for the UPA governance.
''In this manner it has raised the status of the chairperson of NAC to that of a super Prime Minister in the past two years...
demeaning the office of the chief executive of Central Government....I want to know if the government wanted to devalue the office of Prime Minister,'' he said.
Mr Advani also observed that the government wanted to 'bulldoze' the bill in both Houses to get it passed within a day. And, he wanted to know why the government was in a tearing hurry to see the Bill passed.
At this juncture, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi said they had adopted the parliamentary procedure thoroughly, consulted all the floor leaders and invited their objections to the Bill in advance.
Leader of Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee also intervened to say that the Bill had already been circulated to the MPs with his letter and there was nothing more in it but for enlarging the list of offices to be exempted.
After a lot of heated exchanges between opposition and treasury benches, leading to occasional uproars, Deputy Speaker Charnjit Singh Atwal, however, allowed the introduction of the Bill.
This was followed by Mr Advani leading the walk-out of his party in protest.
Braja Kishore Tripathy of the BJD also raised objection to the introduction of the Bill saying that his party was not informed about it in advance and he insisted on making a point of order on the issue. But the Deputy Speaker did not allow it and Mr Tripathy also walked out with his party members.
UNI JSS MSJ DB1401