An office of profit means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit. It may be an office or place of profit if it carries some remuneration, financial advantage, benefit etc. It is a term used in a number of national constitutions to refer to executive appointments. A number of countries forbid members of the legislature from accepting an office of profit under the executive as a means to secure the independence of the legislature and preserve the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state's government into branches, each with separate, independent powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with those of the other branches. The typic ...


The English
Act of Settlement 1701 The Act of Settlement is an Act of the Parliament of England that settled the succession to the English and Irish crowns to only Protestants, which passed in 1701. More specifically, anyone who became a Roman Catholic, or who married one, ...
and Act of Union 1707 are an early example of this principle. The Act of Settlement provided that
no person who has an office or place of profit under the King, or receives a pension from the Crown, shall be capable of serving as a member of the House of Commons;


Section 44(iv) of the
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a constitutional document that is supreme law in Australia. It establishes Australia as a federation under a constitutional monarchy and outlines the structure and powers of the ...
provides that anyone who holds an "office of profit under
the Crown The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realms and their subdivisions (such as the Crown Dependencies, overseas territories, provinces, or states). Legally ill-defined, the term has differ ...
" is disqualified from sitting in or being elected to Federal Parliament. This provision has been subject to interpretation by the
High Court of Australia The High Court of Australia is Australia's apex court. It exercises original and appellate jurisdiction on matters specified within Australia's Constitution. The High Court was established following passage of the '' Judiciary Act 1903''. I ...
, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. In 2018, the Court of Disputed Returns introduced a two-limbed test to determine whether an office was "under the Crown": *An office is "under the Crown" if appointment is made "at the will of the executive government of the Commonwealth or of a State", even if the government does not control the office-holder's tenure or remuneration *If appointment is not made "at the will" of the government, an office is still "under the Crown" if the government exercises "effective control over holding or profiting from the office"



The term is used in Article 102 (1)(a) of the Indian Constitution which bars a member of the Indian 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. The actual amount of profit gained during the violation has no bearing on its classification. India had the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1950, 1951, and 1953 exempting certain posts from being recorded as offices of profit. All these Acts were replaced by the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959. By virtue of section 3 of the said Act, certain offices did not disqualify their holders from being members of Parliament. A person is disqualified from
Lok Sabha The Lok Sabha, constitutionally the House of the People, is the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-p ...
if he or she holds an office of profit except some 56 officers now would not be regarded as the offices of profit for this purpose. The law was again amended in 2006. The representatives cannot hold an office of profit under section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Article 191 (1)(a) of the Constitution also.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the principle has been eroded. The executive sits in the legislature, and from the nineteenth-century ministries were invariably led by Members of Parliament or Peers. Until 1919, Members of Parliament who were appointed to ministerial office lost their right to sit in the House of Commons and had to seek re-election in a ministerial by-election. The rule survives in the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 which specifies a number of state positions that make an individual ineligible to serve as a Member of Parliament. The last vestige of the rule can be seen through the process of resignation from the House of Commons. By virtue of a resolution of the House of Commons of 1624, no MP can resign his or her seat. An MP who wishes to resign has first to accept an office of profit under the Crown, thus vacating their seat. Members who wish to retire ask to be appointed to the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, or
Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead Northstead is an area on the North Bay of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, England. The area near Newlands and Barrowcliff includes Peasholm Park and Scarborough Open Air Theatre. In 2011, the namesake ward had a population of 4,038, since ...
. While these ancient posts have no responsibilities attached to them, they fulfill the requirements of the law and disqualify members from sitting in Parliament, enabling their retirement.

United States

The U.S. Constitution prohibits a Member of Congress from being appointed to an executive office under two circumstances: if the executive office was created during that Member's term in Congress, or if the compensation for that executive office was increased during that Member's term in Congress (but see the Saxbe fix). The U.S. Constitution also prohibits an executive officer from being a Member of Congress. Specifically, Article I, Section 6, Clause 2 provides: The U.S. Constitution does not define the term "office of profit." In fact, that term is not even used in the above-mentioned provision. However, the term "office of profit" is referred to in three other provisions. First, a person who is convicted upon impeachment faces two restrictions: 1) Removal from office; and 2) Disqualification to hold an office honor, trust or profit. Specifically, Article I, section 3, clause 7 provides: Second, a person holding an office of trust, or an office of profit, is prohibited from receiving presents, emoluments, offices, or titles from foreign powers. Specifically, Article I, section 9, clause 8 provides: Third, a person holding an office of trust, or an office of profit, is prohibited from serving as a presidential elector. Specifically, Article II, section 1, clause 2 provides:


* This treatment by a Secretary General of the
Lok Sabha The Lok Sabha, constitutionally the House of the People, is the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by an adult universal suffrage and a first-p ...
covers the concept in the Indian and British contexts.


External links

Office of profit and disqualification, ''The Hindu'', April 2006

*{{cite EB1911, wstitle=Office#Offices of Profit , display=Office § Offices of Profit , volume=20 , page=16 — a section about the concept Political corruption in India Constitutional law