President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday, October 25, dismissed the petition to disqualify 27 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Delhi MLAs for allegedly holding offices of profit. The President’s decision follows a recommendation for the same by the Election Commission earlier this year.
The petition was filed with the Election commission by one Vibhor Anand, a law student, in June of 2016. The argument by the petitioner was that it was acceptable to have the MLAs as members of the Rogi Kalyan Samitis but to have them as chairpersons of the committees was violative of the Representation of People Act as this was an office of profit. Such pleas are sent to the President who then forwards it to the Election Commission. The Election Commission then gives its opinion based on which the President issues orders.
In response to the petition, the commission in its recommendation said that the position comes under the exempted category. As reported by Live Mint, the Election Commission in its order on 10th July noted that “…It is observed that the office of chairperson in Rogi Kalyan Samiti in hospitals of GNCTD (government of national capital territory of Delhi) falls under the exempted category as per item 14 of the Schedule of the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act-1997 and therefore this commission opines that the respondents are not disqualified for holding office of profit,”
It must be noted that this probe was separate from the earlier office-of-profit accusations against 21 party MLAs over their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.
Rogi Kalyan Samitis
In an order issued on April 26, the AAP Delhi government said that ‘Rogi Kalyan Samitis’ will be set up in all Assembly constituencies and ‘Jan Swasthaya Samitis’ in state-run polyclinics, dispensaries, and mohalla clinics. This move was aimed to provide support to health institutions.
The role of Rogi Kalyan Samitis is advisory in nature and they assist health facilities and develop and customise strategies among other tasks. Each Assembly Rogi Kalyan Samiti is provided ₹3 lakh per annum as grant-in-aid.
The Rogi Kalyan Samiti functions effectively like an NGO, that looks after the management of hospitals. The local Member of Parliament, the MLA, administrative officers as well as health officials are all members of these committees.
Office of Profit
Office of Profit is a position in the government which an MLA or an MP can’t hold. The post can yield salaries, perquisites and various other benefits. As per Articles 102(1)(a) and 191(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, MP and MLAs are barred from holding an office of profit as it can put them in a position to gain financial benefits. Even under the under the Representation of People Act, holding an office of profit is grounds for disqualification.
Some senior leaders of the AAP while welcoming the order also said that the commission had wasted time on a baseless complaint.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.