Millennium Post

BJP’s Ram Katheria draws salary from varsity despite taking oath as minister

There seems to be no end to the indiscretions by junior minister in the Narendra Modi government. After Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, junior minister of Food Processing, it’s now the turn of Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shankar Katheria to embarrass the government.

According to officials at KM Institute, which comes under Dr BR Ambedkar University in Agra, Katheria continues to draw salary from the varsity even after becoming a minister. This makes the minister liable for prosecution for holding two offices of profit.

Katheria, who is a reader at Kanhaiyalal Munshi Institute of Hindi Studies and Linguistics, has taken full salary for the month of November despite the fact that he took oath as a central minister on November 9. Sources at the institute said that Katheria has not taken leave from the university, which is must for any varsity faculty, even after six months of his election to Lok Sabha.

Since taking over as a minister, Katheria has not taken a single class at the university. Despite this, he has taken last month’s salary from the varsity which amounts to Rs1.14 lakh. After deducting PF, Rs 87,000 has been transferred to his Allahabad Bank account by the university’s accounts department.

Head of Department of KM Institute Professor Hari Mohan told Millennium Post that Katheria submitted his application for leave without pay till 2019 on November 17, which was yet to be accepted. ‘I have heard about the salary paid to him, but don’t know much about this as it’s the subject of account department,’ professor Mohan said adding that the department has written a letter to vice-chancellor demanding a guest lecturer. Despite several attempts to contact him through telephone calls and text messages, Katheria remained incommunicado.

Sources at the university said that Kathria had not taken a single day leave after winning the Lok Sabha election for the first time in 2009 despite the fact that he actively participated in works assigned to him by the party for UP assembly elections in 2012, Lok Sabha poll and other party meetings and Parliament proceedings.

Article 102 (1)(A) of the Indian Constitution, which deals with office of profit, bars a member of Parliament 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.

Previously, in 2006, Congress chief and MP, Sonia Gandhi, resigned as chairperson of National Advisory Council under pressure from Opposition, which asserted that the post was ‘office of profit’ and thus unlawful. Also, Jaya Bachchan was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha because she was also chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council.
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